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West Coast Eagles star Willie Rioli allegedly caught with cannabis

Banned AFL star Willie Rioli’s career hangs by a thread after his club’s latest statement surrounding charges of alleged drug possession.

Willie Rioli has not played since 2019.

Banned AFL star Willie Rioli will face court in Darwin on Wednesday with his career hanging by a thread.

The Eagles premiership-winner is alleged to have been caught in possession of cannabis last month just six weeks away from returning to football following a two-year doping ban.

Northern Territory Police last month released a statement confirming a detection dog was conducting screening operations at Darwin Airport when 25 grams of cannabis was allegedly found in Rioli’s pants. He had been scheduled to fly to the Tiwi Islands that day.

Northern Territory local court lists show the 25-year-old is charged with possessing a schedule 2 dangerous drug in a quantity less than trafficable (less than 50 grams) in a public place.

The club released a brief statement on Tuesday before head of football operations Craig Vozzo admitted the club would consider taking action “in that category” when asked if the Rioli’s contract could be terminated.

He remains contracted with West Coast through to the end of the 2022 AFL season.

Vozzo also revealed Rioli is “a mess” after coming clean to the club’s integriy manager on Monday night — more than two weeks after the alleged incident is claimed to have occured.

“He’s a mess, he’s gutted and he’s not in a good space,” Vozzo said.

“(I’m) feeling a number of emotions — very disappointed, and anger too.”

He said the club will take no action until the outcome of Rioli’s case is known.

“He’s made some really poor and disappointing decisions. We’ve got to get a balanced decision after getting all the information and the court outcome,” he said.

It comes after Rioli was given the good news from Sports Integrity Australia on Tuesday that his drug charge does not impact his return from a doping ban because it is a police matter unrelated to the use of a banned substance.

It comes after Rioli was just months away from returning to the AFL after two years in exile.

He was in March handed a two-year ban, back-dated to the time he accepted a provisional suspension in 2019 following an investigation by Sports Integrity Australia.

He had been facing a potential four-year ban. But a surprise verdict announced by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal in March revealed he was able to return to play for the Eagles as early as August and had been cleared to return to training with the club from June 20.

The AFL confirmed in September, 2019, Rioli tested positive for a metabolite of cannabis two weeks after being stood down for reportedly tampering with his own drugs test. Originally published here: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/afl/west-coast-eagles-star-willie-rioli-allegedly-caught-with-cannabis/news-story/819b9dcba0ddd4909f334389cb9c30b4

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