Hawthorn great Cyril Rioli has reportedly knocked back an invitation to attend the Hawks' Sir Doug Nicholls Round clash against the Suns at TIO Stadium in Darwin, per SEN's Ash Browne.

Rioli, a four-time premiership Hawk and 2015 Norm Smith medallist, suddenly retired three years ago after suffering a medial ligament injury in Round 4 of the 2018 season.

The then-28-year-old formally announced his retirement from the game mid-season and returned to Darwin where he lived as a child before making the move to Melbourne at 14.

Reports emerged in 2018 of a rift between Rioli and senior club figures after club President Jeff Kennett reportedly made a joke to Rioli's wife Shannyn at an airport which left her offended. Kennett later apologised for the comment.

Later that year, Rioli was the only Hawk not to attend the 10-year-reunion of the 2008 premiership after a last-minute cancellation.

Since his retirement, Rioli has played for the Tiwi Bombers in the NTFL competition while also working with students at a local Tiwi College in Darwin.

In a 2018 article with Athlete's Voice, Rioli reflected on his career and life post football.

"Being back home and having the time to think about what I want to do next, it’s become clear to me that helping those communities will be a big part of my life from now on. I’m not an office person. I will be getting out and visiting as many people as I can." Rioli wrote.

"Being able to see what happens in those communities with my own eyes, I especially want to help the younger generation. To live, be free and be happy. Young Indigenous kids have so much potential yet face a lot of challenges. I just want to have a positive impact.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 03: Cyril Rioli of the Hawks celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2015 AFL Grand Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the West Coast Eagles at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 3, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

"I’ve reflected here and there on what I did in my career; if I get a glimpse of some old footage or something. But that’s all in the past. I’m trying to look to the future. My new life.

"I’ve had some good times playing with Hawthorn. I enjoyed every minute of it

"I left the Hawks in a good place. They had a terrific season, making finals."

Rioli, who was born in the Tiwi Islands, is widely regarded as one of the best Indigenous players to have played the game and is a favourite among both Hawks and footy fans.

The Sir Doug Nicholls Round is an annual celebration of Indigenous culture and contribution to the game. The Hawks will don a special jumper designed by Nyarinyin, Pitjantjantjara and Yankuntjantjara woman Justine Ronberg for club's first game in Darwin.