AAP AFL

Banned Eagle Rioli back training with club

By AAP Newswire

West Coast have welcomed suspended premiership player Willie Rioli back into the fold, but remain in the dark about where his stalled AFL career sits.

The 24-year-old is facing a four-year ban after allegedly tampering with his urine sample in August during a routine ASADA drug test.

He has been spending time with family in Darwin and the Tiwi Islands since his provisional ban last September on the eve of a semi-final against Geelong.

Rioli also tested positive to cannabis around the same time, with an ASADA investigation into both incidents ongoing.

"We're in the dark ... these processes take a long time," coach Adam Simpson told reporters on Friday.

"We understand that there's lots of questions, but we've got the same questions.

"It's not in our hands ... We can't give an update on the proceedings because they (ASADA) haven't told us.

"We know that he can train with us and that's about it."

Simpson and club officials have remained in touch and offered support to Rioli since his shock suspension.

Friday was the first time he has seen teammates as a group since September.

His mental health and well-being remain the club's priority, but Simpson is also keen for his situation not to become a distraction as preparations ramp up ahead of the premiership season.

"We spoke to the players last week about the potential for Willie to come back and how they felt about it," he said.

"They're a mature group, they care about him, but we've also got a job to do for the season as well.

"So getting that focus and balance right was important.

"They've been briefed and are clear about where it's at.

"As much as there's empathy ... there's also dealing with the situation from a playing point of view, so we need to get the group together and move on really."