Star’s astonishing Willie Rioli defence
Willie Rioli it seems has at least one defender left and it's AFL 360 host Mark Robinson.
On Tuesday night the Herald Sun's chief football writer launched into an impassioned and staggering defence of Rioli, who it had been revealed earlier on Tuesday tested positive to a metabolite of cannabis in a game day test after West Coast's elimination final win over Essendon.
The news of that positive test comes on the heels of Rioli being stood down just days before West Coast's elimination final loss to Geelong for allegedly tampering with a urine sample on August 20.
The latest positive it would seem has put an end to any hope of Rioli playing in the near future with the maximum four-year ban looming large according to former ASADA chief Richard Ings.
The reason for that is that Rioli will face whichever ban is larger if found guilty and that ban would be the four-year maximum for tampering with a sample - the allegation in that instance is that he was frustrated at being unable to provide a sample and poured a sports drink into it.
Rioli update— Richard Ings (@ringsau) September 24, 2019
A positive drug test for cannabis in-comp.
As it happened on Sep 5, which was before he was notified of on Sep 11 of his alleged substitution, it is considered a concurrent and not a consecutive matter.
So is still facing one consequence.
Whichever is worse. https://t.co/jKkauN2RsX
"As it happened on Sep 5, which was before he was notified of on Sep 11 of his alleged substitution, it is considered a concurrent and not a consecutive matter," Ings posted.
"So he is still facing one consequence. Whichever is worse."
Because Rioli tested positive for the banned substance on match day, his cannabis finding is considered performance enhancing.
A positive test for a cannabis metabolite out of competition is not considered performance enhancing and results in AFL players receiving a strike under the game's illicit substance policy, but no action from ASADA.
Despite this, Robinson jumped to Rioli's defence on AFL 360 claiming Rioli may have used the drug for medicinal purposes, even though it is a banned substance.
"I'm not particularly perturbed by this one Gerard," Robinson told co-host Gerard Whateley.
"Medical marijuana is becoming so big for dealing with pain and to help people do things to deal with stress levels and anxiety, if he had a joint because of whatever reason to do with his stress or whatever - if he gets pinged and gets kicked out for how many years I think well nah.
"He's going to be suspended but I just think everyone needs to ease up on that one."
Although marijuana legalisation is potentially on political agendas after legalisation of the drug in different places across the world it is still a banned substance, which makes Robinson's defence of Rioli absolutely befuddling and somewhat irrelevant.
The fact is Rioli is now a player who has made two substance-related mistakes and has to stare down a suspension that may well end what looked like being a very good playing career in the AFL with West Coast.
The excuse that marijuana can be used to aid pain management is far from valid and for Robinson to give him a pass is astonishing.
What remains to be seen is any statement from Rioli, who has today remained quiet and is understood to still be with family in the Tiwi Islands.
West Coast have maintained their support for Rioli throughout the drama and will continue to support him through the probe.
"The West Coast Eagles have recently been made aware that a sample taken from Willie Rioli has tested positive for a metabolite of cannabis," the Eagles announced.
"As stipulated two weeks ago, the club's primary concern remains the health and wellbeing of Willie. We will continue to support him through this particularly challenging time to assist him while this ongoing investigation runs its course.
"The club will respect the process of the investigation into the circumstances surrounding this case and will co-operate fully with it."