Cyril Rioli’s hopes of making an immediate impact on the home and away season have taken a blow after the Hawthorn forward limped off the Metricon Stadium field on Saturday night.

Aussie rules betting odds have Hawthorn at $1.47 in their round one clash against Geelong, where Rioli should be fit to play.

Rioli, preparing for his sixth season with the Hawks, rolled his ankle against Gold Coast and the sprain appears serious enough to keep him out of their three remaining pre-season matches.

While Rioli should be fit to play round one, aussie rules betting news has suggested he is a minimal chance of making an early impact with odds of $201 to win the 2013 Brownlow Medal.

“He’ll wear a moonboot for a couple of days to protect the ankle, and we expect he’ll miss a couple of weeks,” said football manager Mark Evans.

It is a severe blow for the Hawks, who are looking to go one step further than 2012 and win the Grand Final this season. As all AFL fans in the betting world know, a good pre-season is tantamount to success in the early stages of the league and Rioli was all set for another important role.

He played a pivotal role in getting his side to the Grand Final last September, kicking goals twice against both Collingwood and Adelaide at the MCG. 

Rioli’s absence comes at a real bad time for the Hawks, for they also lost forward pocket Paul Puopolo to knee ligament damage against Gold Coast and no return date is set for his return.

Although Evans has suitable cover in the forward positions, these losses cannot go un-felt and are major negatives to Hawthorn’s early season.

It’s a long and arduous road to a Grand Final and fans and players alike are aware of the damage a full season can have on any squad. Hawks fans will hope Rioli can recover in time for round one where the Hawks will hope to break a losing streak against the Cats lasting 4 seasons.