Banned Eagle reveals 'challenges' ahead of return

2 months ago 18
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West Coast guardant Willie Rioli volition marque his long-awaited instrumentality to the crippled this play pursuing a two-year layoff owed to tampering with a cause sample.

Rioli earlier this twelvemonth was officially handed a backdated two-year prohibition by the AFL, which helium accepted amid a conflict to debar a imaginable four-year suspension.

Having already served 18 months connected the sidelines astatine the clip of his backdated ban, Rioli's extremity day was August 20, and helium volition present instrumentality to the tract this play erstwhile the Eagles instrumentality connected the Lions successful a must-win clash to support their finals hopes alive.

The 26-year-old, who was portion of the Eagles' Grand Final-winning squad successful 2018, spoke via the club's website today, successful which helium revealed his travel backmost to the AFL took a toll mentally.

"It has been a agelong travel back, but I'm grateful for it," Rioli said. "It was mentally challenging; luckily capable I had large household enactment backmost location that helped walk the time. Waiting for the result was the hardest part, not knowing what my aboriginal was looking like.

Willie Rioli jogs laps during a West Coast Eagles AFL grooming league astatine Mineral Resources Park connected June 21, 2021 successful Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) (Getty)

"It was truly important to person the enactment of the club, fortunate capable to person Peter Staples (integrity officer), Chance Bateman, who was astatine the nine astatine the time, and Jamie Bennell, who came up to Darwin. They kept my imagination live of playing AFL shot again.

"(So grateful) to everyone astir the nine who stuck by maine and believed successful me. I had a spot of mixed emotions astir it.

"I've learned to instrumentality things arsenic they travel and conscionable excited astir the adjacent chapter.

"I get tense each game, but this volition beryllium much of a relief. It volition astir apt beryllium surreal to me. It volition mean a lot, not lone to me, but to my household who has been done the hard times."

With 1 circular to spell earlier the finals series, the Eagles indispensable bushed Brisbane connected Saturday and anticipation either GWS oregon Essendon loser their respective matches to marque the finals.

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