Eagles coach Adam Simpson is holding some concern that suspended small forward Willie Rioli may not play AFL ever again, with the 25-year-old still awaiting the verdict of his anti-doping ban, per Perth Now.
Rioli faced the AFL’s anti-doping tribunal in December last year and has been provisionally suspended since August 2019 after allegedly substituting his urine sample during an ASADA drug test.
While the West Coast goal-sneak is set learn his fate in the coming weeks, there are fears his career in the league could be over.
If Rioli is handed a ban of 18 months or less, then he will be free to resume his career with the Eagles before the 2021 season kicks off, however, Rioli could face a ban of three to four years, likely meaning his time in the AFL will come to an abrupt end.
When posed the question whether he fears for Rioli’s future, Simpson stated: “Absolutely”.
“He’ll get some clarity in the next couple of weeks and we’ll go from there.
“It’s a really interesting conversation about what we do once we get the verdict… and it’s finalised.
“We’ve been pretty patient considering what’s happened. Some people say that’s on us and on him but it’s been a little bit out of whack.”
While the club are keen to see Rioli’s face return to training, Simpson added that the forward’s mental health is a clear priority.
“That’s really important for Willie’s mental health. It’s been a long time and we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks,” Simpson said.
“All I’m thinking about is Willie’s health and wellbeing and where he is at personally. I can’t control what is happening in the courts and the proceedings.
“What’s done is done. Now we’re just hoping we get a good hearing and get a good outcome.”
The Eagles will host the Suns for their Round 1 fixture on March 21.