It is a rare honour in sport to be known by just one name. It as a reward for those few men and women who can rightfully be called a sporting genius: Pele, Ali, Serena and in Aussie Rules, Kouta, Buddy … and Cyril.
Or, rather, CY-RRIIILLLLL!!!
The drawn-out word is uttered by commentators and fans just before the action – a moment of expectation before a moment of magic.
A leap from nowhere. A hand that in a flash steals the ball from under an opponent's nose, a blind turn into unimagined space, a kick across the body to a teammate that only he can see.
"Cyril" is code for expect the unexpected.
There have been many great footballers in the past decade: Ablett, Swan, Judd, Hodge, Dangerfield, Martin.
The leaders, accumulators, strong men, Brownlow medallists and champions.
But none of them hold a candle to the sheer wizardry of Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli who with a few touches could change the course of the game and excite a crowd like no other.
Simply he could jump higher, run faster, think quicker and see more than any other player.
It wasn't for Cyril to get 30 touches. He did his work with 10 or 15, a few goals, some critical tackles, a crucial tap that brought his lesser mortal teammates glory.
As football becomes ever more structured, all about team rules and zones and even the great players are just cogs in a machine, Cyril has been the outlier. He was the individual whose mastery of the game transcended the modern cookie-cutter footballer.
Now he's leaving his stage at just 28, with his greatest years arguably still ahead of him.
We are left with only the memories of one of the greatest exponents of Australian Rules Football and the unanswered questions of what he could yet have achieved.
But what glorious memories they are:
Moments of Cyril Part 1: The announcement
The 2008 grand final is on a knife edge late in the third quarter. Stuart Dew kicks long to the wing where Rioli – in his first season – is outnumbered three to one.
Corey Enright gets front position in the battle for the ball, but Cyril leaps over him and, at full stretch, gets a hand to the ball just as Enright's teammate Matthew Scarlett arrives and picks it up. Cyril somehow propels himself on his knees to tackle Scarlett to win a free kick.
Two minutes later he roves a pack and runs into an open goal. Hawthorn are away to win a grand final against the odds. Cyril's legend is born.
He came to the game with the expectations of one of the great names of Australian Rules. Uncle Maurice was a trailblazing Aboriginal footballer for Richmond, who won the Norm Smith Medal in the 1982 grand final – the first ever Indigenous Australian to do so and the first from a losing side.
Cyril was destined to play AFL football. He moved from Darwin to board at Melbourne's Scotch College when he was just 14. He lasted just three days before he packed his bags with the intention of heading home. Were it not for the intervention of another uncle, Michael Long, he may have been lost to the game.
His genius was to think and move faster than anyone else. Those tackles in the 2008 grand final were early indicators that Cyril was always in the contest and no-one was safe. He was the silent assassin, appearing from nowhere to tackle an opponent. The will-o-the-wisp, flying in a pack to take a mark, landing on his feet and then he was gone.
Moments of Cyril Part 2: Mortality
Late in the first quarter of the 2012 grand final, Sydney's Lewis Jetta receives the ball in the back pocket and takes off with Cyril just five metres behind. One bounce, two bounces, a jink, a third bounce, a fourth and he kicks. In a race of the two of the great Indigenous athletes, Cyril simply can't make up the ground – he's human after all.
Cyril's kryptonite was his hamstrings. It was as if he was too fast for his body. Time and again he'd break down and time and again Hawthorn's physios would rebuild him, even teach him how to run again in the hope that his muscles could keep up with his mind.
He played 189 games but were it not for injuries and the pull of his family in Darwin he may have played another 50 by now.
Memories of Cyril Part 3: Greatness
The 2015 grand final, Hawthorn v West Coast. Hawthorn wins their third grand final in a row and Cyril wins the Norm Smith Medal for the best player of the game.
It was meant to be.
All the tricks were there: 18 disposals, 12 marks, two goals, four goal-assists, but the numbers don't tell the full story. There was a chase from 15 metres behind to catch an opponent, the brilliant tap to a teammate, handballs that were gone before he even seemed to have possession, intercepts, leaps. It was the complete mastery of a game by the most unique player of the master team.
Moments of Cyril Part 4: The encore
Hawthorn v Sydney round 17, 2016 at the SCG. On his 27th birthday and with just a minute left, Cyril marks the ball, 50 metres out on an angle. With a crowd of 42,000 willing him to miss, with dodgy hamstrings at the end of a bruising game, he goes back and kicks the goal.
After the game, I asked Sam Mitchell how Hawthorn won the game and he looked at me and said: "Ah Cyril." Not even one of Hawthorn's great champions and thinkers about the game can offer any more by way of an explanation.
Hawthorn made the finals in 2016, but the golden generation was over, and Cyril's best days were done.
He played just seven games last year in a season that was cruelled by a knee injury and his desire to return to Darwin to help his father as he recovered from heart surgery. It was the same story this year: four games, a knee injury and more time in Darwin.
In a statement today he wrote: "Football has been my life but it's always been difficult being away from home. Now is the right time to go home and spend more time with friends and family."
Aussie Rules is renowned for its acts of athleticism, skill, strength and courage. It's a game like no other, where the feats of an individual can transcend tribal allegiances and leave fans gaping in wonder.
Now Cyril's gone, but the memories he leaves will live on forever.