West Coast Eagles star Willie Rioli has been given a 12-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to possessing cannabis in the Darwin Local Court on Wednesday.
- No conviction was recorded against Rioli
- The West Coast Eagles are yet to announce if Rioli will return to AFL games
- The court was told there was “no suggestion” Rioli was addicted to cannabis
Rioli, 25, was charged with one count of possession of a schedule two drug, after a sniffer dog at the Fly Tiwi terminal at Darwin Airport detected 25 grams of cannabis in his pants in April.
Rioli has been based in the Northern Territory since he was suspended from the AFL for tampering with a urine sample in 2019.
A visibly emotional Rioli was supported in court by family members, but the West Coast Eagles said they did not send a support person from Perth to be with him.
The club is yet to determine when, or if, Rioli will return to the game when his suspension is lifted in August.
Defence lawyer Mark Thomas said Rioli wanted to issue a “heartfelt apology to the West Coast Eagles for this offence”.
“He knows he has let them down,” Mr Thomas said.
“Shame, loss, humiliation, grief … that’s how Mr Rioli feels in consequence of this matter, to which he’s pleaded guilty.”
Mr Thomas told the court there was “no suggestion” the forward had an addiction to cannabis.
Arguing for Rioli to avoid a conviction, Mr Thomas told the court the “arsenal of media” sitting in the courtroom had led to “national humiliation” for the player.
Judge Michael Carey did not record a conviction for Rioli.
“If ever there was a lesson in this … it’s surrounding you there, because you know what will happen if it happens again,” said Judge Carey.
“You are a role model in the community, that’s unfortunate because this is not a good example you’ve passed on.”