West Coast’s 2018 premiership forward Willie Rioli has pleaded guilty to drug possession but has escaped conviction, instead placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond, with the AFL saying it would let the Eagles decide on his future.
Rioli entered his plea at the Darwin Magistrates Court on Wednesday afternoon, the 25-year-old charged with “possessing a schedule 2 dangerous drug in a quantity less than trafficable (under 50 grams) in a public place”.
Police caught Rioli with cannabis at Darwin Airport on April 23 where he was set to fly to the Tiwi Islands, weeks before he was due back in Western Australia to resume life as an AFL footballer. He had just under 25 grams of cannabis in a taped package inside his shorts.
Rioli had been living away from Perth while serving a backdated two-year ban for tampering with a urine sample for a drug test in 2019. Rioli had been set to train with the Eagles from June 20 and is eligible to play again from August 20.
West Coast will now decide if any further action should be taken against Rioli for the incident.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said on Thursday: “We would be in discussions with West Coast but we’re leaving that with West Coast. This is someone who’s been out of the industry, I think he’s got to earn the trust back of his playing group, the club, probably the whole industry. But we are also an industry that believes in rehabilitation and second chances.”