Sport AFL Cyril Rioli will play in Saturday’s grand final
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Cyril Rioli will play in Saturday’s grand final

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Cyril Rioli will play in Saturday’s AFL grand final, with Hawthorn also recalling burly ruckman Ben McEvoy to face Sydney.

The Hawks made two changes to the side that pipped Port Adelaide in last Saturday’s preliminary final, with Rioli and McEvoy returning for unlucky pair Jonathon Ceglar and

Ben McEvoy at training today.
Ben McEvoy at training today.

Jonathan Simpkin, both of whom were named as emergencies, alongside veteran Brad Sewell.

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Rioli has not played an AFL clash since round 15 due to a serious hamstring injury and returned to football in last Sunday’s VFL grand final, sitting out the final quarter.

The star midfielder, who has a history of hamstring issues, trained strongly in front of a huge crowd at Thursday’s one-hour session at Waverley Park and was named on the bench for the reigning premiers.

“He looked really good and I suppose if the coaches had any doubt they probably have a bigger headache now,” Hawks midfielder Jordan Lewis said of Rioli..

“He trained really well.”

McEvoy, the club’s prized off-season recruit, has not played in the AFL since round 21 due to the form of Ceglar.

McEvoy knows the devastation Ceglar would be feeling well, having been dropped by St Kilda coach Ross Lyon for the 2010 grand final.

Sydney named an unchanged side, coach John Longmire happy to rely on the same 22 players that delivered victory in week one and three of the finals.

The Swans’ only concern was for Sam Reid, who was subbed off with a knee injury against the Kangaroos.

“Reid did everything that he had to do and did the whole session and our medical staff were happy with the way he moved,” Longmire said.

“He looked good out there, so he’s ready to go.”

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