West Coast is set to have the option of unleashing Willie Rioli on an AFL field in late 2021 after the club and suspended forward finally received clarity on the player’s drugs ban.
Multiple reports on Thursday indicated Rioli, who played in West Coast’s 2018 premiership, had been officially handed a two-year ban after allegedly tampering with a urine sample during a drug test following an Eagles training session in 2019.
As Rioli has already served 18 months of the suspension, he’ll be eligible for Eagles selection from August 20. It’s also been reported Rioli will be permitted to train with West Coast from mid-season.
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The backdated ban is set to be confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
Sport Integrity Australia (formerly ASADA) will have the option of appealing the ban but is reportedly unlikely to do so.
The Eagles were hoping they would’ve known Rioli’s fate by January after the suspended Eagle finally fronted an AFL anti-doping tribunal the previous month.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson in January said he “absolutely” had concerns about the Rioli’s AFL future, but the two-year ban — half of the maximum four-year penalty — is a positive development for Rioli and the Eagles.
After being drafted by West Coast with Pick 52 in the 2016 national draft, Rioli has kicked 46 goals in 38 games and played a key role in the club’s 2018 premiership triumph.
MORE TO COME
Sarah Olle and Tom Morris are joined by Richmond’s Ellie McKenzie on the latest AFLWeekly podcast