Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli can do more damage with 10 disposals than most AFL players would manage with 30.
The small forward was outstanding in Friday night’s pulsating 10-point win over Collingwood, kicking five goals.
He also had the defining moment of the game, making a brilliant gather in the midfield that led directly to Luke Breust’s match-sealing goal.
The long-standing criticism of Rioli is that he does not do enough in matches.
But his 10 possessions against the Magpies were pivotal, especially given the Hawks were without key forward Jarryd Roughead.
Rioli famously only had 10 disposals that seemed like many more in a pivotal cameo role when Hawthorn upset Geelong to win the 2008 grand final.
“You don’t ever want to get stuck one-on-one (against Rioli), let’s put it that way,” Collingwood defender Travis Varcoe told SEN.
“He is such a champion player, he doesn’t need a whole lot of it to do a lot of damage.
“We’ve seen that first-hand last night.
“I love watching him play and it’s probably one of the hardest gigs I’ve had as a backline player.”
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said Rioli’s role was vital and called him “a really, really special player.
“In Roughy’s absence we needed someone to be a focal point for us.
“We didn’t anticipate it was going to be someone underneath six foot that was going to be that guy.”