Rioli out to match uncles' deeds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rioli out to match uncles' deeds

By Adam Cooper 26/09/2008 05:07:32 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli is proud of his family's success in AFL grand finals, but admits the pressure is on to emulate the deeds of his famous uncles.

Rioli's selection in Saturday's clash against Geelong not only caps a remarkable debut season, but gives the small forward the chance to follow his relatives in lighting up the MCG.

His uncle Maurice Rioli played for Richmond and in 1982 became the first member of a losing side to win the Norm Smith Medal, for his sublime skill against Carlton.

Another uncle Michael Long won the medal 11 years later when his pace for Essendon was too much for the Blues to handle, and he also played in the Bombers' 2000 premiership win over Melbourne.

The quietly spoken Cyril, 19, has had the chance to draw on the experiences of both uncles, but said his family's success brought with it an extra sense of expectation.

"It puts a lot of pressure on me, definitely," he said Friday.

"But I'm just going to have fun and just enjoy it.

"I remember playing against the Bombers (in round 11) and they were telling me I was on the wrong team. But it's all good."

Rioli, originally from Darwin, admitted he could not believe what he had achieved this season, having played all 24 games (22 goals), and winning selection in the Hawks' first grand final in 17 years.

He conceded he did not know what to expect Saturday, but a chat during the week with Long put him at ease.

"I was with my uncle Michael on Wednesday and he just gave me a bit of advice, just talking to me about what's going to happen and the pressure and just to enjoy myself really," he said.

"'Just enjoy yourself and have a lot of fun' - that's all he said to me."

Rioli said he had only seen a few highlights of the 1982 grand final, but could not remember any of the deciders Long played in.

He nominated the 2001 decider as the one of Long's that he had watched on television, but his uncle did not play in that loss to the Brisbane Lions (but another relative, Dean Rioli, did).

The Rioli contingent Saturday will extend to Cyril's parents, grandparents, sister and girlfriend.

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