on air now

Willie Rioli’s mental health is the AFL’s priority: McLachlan

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says it’s unlikely Willie Rioli will play again this year after the West Coast forward allegedly tampered with a drug test.

Rioli will not take part in tonight’s semi-final against Geelong after he was provisionally suspended accused of tampering with a urine sample.

He faces a ban of up to four years but other details are scant, with fans yet to be told how Rioli is alleged to have swapped his sample nor with what.

McLachlan told Neil Mitchell that although “technically there’s provisions for an expedited hearing”, he doesn’t expect a speedy resolution.

“The priority for West Coast and us is Willie’s mental health and I think that (expediting the hearing) is not something that’s in contemplation,” he said.

“That’s certainly my clear understanding, yes.

“These things take some time and this is clearly a case that’s different from the standard one, so I’m sure it will take some time.”

The Eagle is said to be in a state of distress.

“At the moment he’s a bit of a mess at the moment, emotionally,” Eagles football manager Craig Vozzo said.

“We’re still in the fact-finding process.”

Willie Rioli broke his silence on Friday, posting to Facebook a heart felt message.

Click PLAY to hear the full Gil McLachlan interview