Chris Ciriello started playing hockey when he was four-years-old. By 16 he had qualified for the Australian U/18 team before going on to make his senior national team debut at the start of 2008, competing at the Five Nations men's hockey tournament in South Africa. In 2009 the advent of a new coach and the retirement of a number of key players meant that Ciriello was given another national team opportunity and he proved his worth during the Kookaburras' tour of Europe. He was a key player in a stellar year that saw the Aussies win the 2010 Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy.
Ciriello went on to make his Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games. He scored the opening goal in Australia’s 6-0 victory over South Africa before Australia- ranked world number one- beat Spain and Pakistan but drew with Argentina and Great Britain in the pool stage. In the semi-final the Australians held a 2-1 lead over defending Olympic Champions Germany midway through the second half, but the Germans stormed home to win 4-2. The Aussie Kookaburras bounced back to knock off the British 3-1 in the bronze medal match with Ciriello finishing the tournament with three goals.