Cyril Rioli returns to Darwin on indefinite leave

Cyril Rioli will be away from Hawthorn indefinitely after the Hawks granted him personal leave to return to Darwin.

Rioli had been closing in on a return from a knee injury which sidelined him for much of the first half of the season, but Hawthorn released a statement that the Indigenous star had asked to return to the Northern Territory.

Cyril Rioli.

Cyril Rioli.

“Cyril expressed to us his desire to return to Darwin with his wife Shannyn and be with their family,” Hawthorn's general manager of football Graham Wright said.

“Physically, Cyril is in great condition, and potentially could have played for us in the coming weeks. However, we acknowledge his desire to be with family.

“Our priority at Hawthorn is our people and we ask that Cyril’s privacy be respected at this time.”

Rioli has been given compassionate leave by Hawthorn several times in his career, including late last year when he spent an extended period of time in the NT after his father suffered a heart attack.

Rioli, 28, is contracted until the end of 2020.

The Hawks (6-5) had the bye on the weekend and face Adelaide (6-6) at the MCG on Saturday night in what shapes as a crucial game for both clubs in their respective hunts to make the top eight.

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