How AFL superstar Wille Rioli tried to smuggle 25 grams worth of cannabis on to a plane by taping it to his groin – before the drugs fell out of his shorts in front of police at the airport
- Willie Rioli has pleaded guilty to stashing cannabis down his pants on a flight
- Police allegedly found 25 grams of the drug on West Coast star at Darwin airport
- The ace forward has been suspended from the AFL since September 12, 2019
- Found guilty of substituting his urine during two separate anti-doping drug tests
AFL premiership forward Willie Rioli has avoided a conviction and been placed on a good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to drug possession.
Northern Territory police found 24.23 grams of the drug on the West Coast star after a heavily taped package fell from his shorts during screening at Darwin airport on April 23.
Rioli, 25, pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Darwin Local Court to possessing a schedule 2 dangerous drug of less than a trafficable quantity.
AFL premiership forward Willie Rioli arriving at Darwin Local Court to face a drug possession charge
‘Shame, loss, humiliation, grief. That’s how Mr Rioli feels,’ lawyer Mark Thomas said during sentencing submissions.
‘He is truly ashamed and regretful for what has occurred.
‘Your Honour has a trite and humble young man before you.’
He said the father-of-two had suffered a national humiliation after his case became public due to ‘an arsenal’ of media reporting.
Rioli was issued with a notice to appear in Darwin Local Court on possessing a schedule 2 dangerous drug of less than a trafficable quantity
Mr Thomas asked for a fine but not a conviction, saying it may put his AFL career in jeopardy.
Magistrate Michael Carey placed him on a 12-month $500 good behaviour bond with no conviction.
Rioli’s case was delayed earlier in the day while his legal team waited for signatures on some character references.
The ace goal kicker has been suspended from the AFL since September 12, 2019, a day before West Coast’s semi-final.
Rioli was found guilty of substituting his urine during two separate anti-doping drug tests. He also tested positive to a metabolite of cannabis during a different drug test.
Rioli holds up the Premiership Trophy after the Eagles won the 2018 AFL Grand Final
His AFL anti-doping tribunal case was finally heard in March, with Rioli escaping with a two-year ban instead of a possible four-year suspension.
Rioli had been given permission to train with West Coast from June 20 and resume playing on August 20.
But his career is now hanging by a thread, with Eagles football operations manager Craig Vozzo on Tuesday saying the club was supporting Rioli while they wait for the court result.
Mr Vozzo said Rioli hadn’t let the club know he had been charged with possession and he was now walking a ‘fine line’ in terms of his AFL career.
When asked whether the club could sack Rioli, Mr Vozzo replied: ‘It’s definitely in that category’.
‘It’s a balancing act between the feeling of extreme disappointment and anger versus a sadness,’ he said.
‘He has made some really poor and disappointing decisions through 2019 and this.’
Rioli celebrates a goal during the 2018 AFL Second Preliminary Final match between the West Coast Eagles and Melbourne