West Coast have confirmed Willie Rioli has returned to Perth ahead of his reintroduction to the football club.
Eagles players were consulted on whether suspended forward Rioli should return to the club, with the decision resting on the club’s board.
The club has since issued a statement saying Rioli will start training with the club on June 20 as previously planned.
“After consulting a range of parties, both internal and external who will be required to assist with a successful return to football, the club’s board has determined to continue to support Willie,” the statement said.
“He remains unable to return to the club until June 20 and the club is still working on some of the details around his return.”
Rioli was cleared to return to the AFL in August this year after the completion of a backdated two-year suspension.
Rioli was provisionally suspended in September 2019, after it was revealed he allegedly tried to tamper with a urine sample. He later tested positive for a cannabis metabolite.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson says there needs to be a strong plan in place for Rioli when he returns.
“Obviously there’s a lot of nerves. Re-introduction to the club and our players is going to take time,” Simpson said.
“So, getting him settled, going through all the right processes that we’ve been working on is the next step.”
By Teisha Cloos