Rioli set for the rest of his AFL career

Boasting healthy hamstrings and an impressive trophy cabinet, Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli is set for the rest of his AFL career.

The Norm Smith Medallist from this year’s premiership win has signed a two-year contract extension with the Hawks.

That will take the four-time premiership player through to the end of the 2019 season, when he will be 30.

Only last year, Rioli managed just 12 senior games for the season because of repeated hamstring injuries.

He was sidelined from round 15 and had to prove his fitness before playing in the grand final win over Sydney.

This season, the small forward dynamo only missed one game and starred as they brushed aside West Coast for their third-straight flag.

“I don’t really think too much about my ‘hammys’ when I go out to train now,” he said.

“Stuff I do in the gym gives me a lot of confidence getting out there on the field.”

Rioli said he would follow the same pre-season regime again, but perhaps with more intensity.

“We set out a plan last year during the pre-season, we stuck to that and that definitely worked,” he said.

“(It was) working mostly on my legs and just getting those things right.

“That definitely set my season up.”

For all Hawthorn’s success since the 2008 premiership in his debut season, Rioli said the epic 2012 grand final loss to Sydney remained all the motivation he would need.

“We don’t want to go down that path again,” he said on the first day of pre-season training.

“For myself, the losing one really cuts me up … that’s our driving force.

“But everyone looks in really good shape and ready to go.

“We feel if we play the Hawthorn way, that will give us every chance.”

Rioli was also rapt that his nephew Daniel Rioli went to Richmond in last month’s draft, continuing the wider family’s rich AFL history.

“To carry on that Rioli name, it’s awesome,” he said.

“I was hoping Hawthorn might have got him, but he’s in pretty good hands with ‘Dimma’ (coach Damien Hardwick) at Richmond.”

The latest Rioli to join an AFL club has cheekily suggested he might have Cyril covered for pace.

“He probably does, but he’s a few flags behind,” was the four-time premiership star’s response.

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