Willie Rioli fails new drug test weeks after tampering saga

Willie Rioli celebrating after a goal.
Willie Rioli has tested positive for a metabolite of cannabis after the Eagles' elimination final win over Essendon.

The AFL future of Willie Rioli looks even more grim after he tested positive for cannabis on a match day just weeks after his alleged urine tampering.

The AFL confirmed on Tuesday that Rioli tested positive for a metabolite of cannabis in a September 5 ASADA drug test after West Coast's elimination final win over Essendon.

‘SO SO SORRY’: Willie Rioli apologises over 'lil mistake'

Cannabis is an in-competition prohibited substance under the code, meaning the breach could attract a ban of several years.

Rioli is already facing a ban of up to four years after allegedly tampering with his urine sample during an ASADA test on August 20.

It's been reported that on that occasion, a frustrated and dehydrated Rioli poured a sports drink into his sample jar after being unable to pass urine for more than three hours.

Willie Rioli of the Eagles celebrates after scoring a goal. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Willie Rioli of the Eagles celebrates after scoring a goal. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Rioli is currently in the Northern Territory with family.

The 24-year-old recently posted a picture of himself and West Coast development coach Chance Bateman together in the Northern Territory.

West Coast said they weren't in a position to go into detail about Rioli's positive drug test.

"As stipulated two weeks ago, the club's primary concern remains the health and wellbeing of Willie," the Eagles said in a statement.

"We will continue to support him through this particularly challenging time to assist him while this ongoing investigation runs its course.

"We expect that these processes will take some months to complete and the club will not be in a position to make further comment until such completion."

West Coast hurting

West Coast are hurting for "gentle soul" Rioli after crashing out of the AFL finals without their suspended star forward.

Rioli's season was over after he was slapped with a provisional ASADA ban before the Geelong loss.

Just 48 hours after learning of Rioli's bombshell provisional ban for allegedly substituting a urine anti-doping sample, the Eagles' premiership defence came grinding to a halt with a 13.10 (88) to 10.8 (68) semi-final loss to Geelong at the MCG.

Rioli could face four years out of the game if an investigation finds he substituted another substance for his own urine during an August 20 out-of-competition drug test.

The big pre-game question was what effect the talented and highly popular Rioli's suspension would have on his teammates.

West Coast looked noticeably flat in the early going, although they bounced back to snatch the lead after halftime before being run over late.

"They're human. We really care about Willie - we still do," coach Adam Simpson said.

"We addressed it on Wednesday night. We looked pretty tight and we looked pretty galvanised. But we're hurting for him.

"We're really worried about his mental health and making sure he's got his family and support around him.

"He's a gentle soul, a lovely man. He's got a partner with a child and another one on the way. We just throw our arms around him at the moment."

A devastated Rioli left the team hotel in Melbourne after he was informed of the breach of the ASADA code and flew to Darwin.

He will be represented by David Grace QC in what AFL chief Gillon McLachlan expects to be a lengthy investigation.

"We'll work through it in the coming weeks," Simpson said.

"It's just been a bit of a shock. It just happened so quick and now we've got to deal with it as a club and Willie's got to deal with it himself."

Rioli posted a message on his Facebook page on Friday apologising for the controversy, while also vowing to learn from the distressing experience.

Eagles star Luke Shuey said Rioli's teammates had been unable to contact him after he had his phone confiscated.

"I think we're looking forward to seeing him and wrapping our arms around him and giving him a hug," Shuey told AAP.

"But he's probably got a long road ahead of him."