live Infotainment Factory: 'Devastated' Eagles react to Rioli ban

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Thursday, 12 September 2019

'Devastated' Eagles react to Rioli ban


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The West Coast Eagles are devastated for teammate Willie Rioli but determined not to let his doping ban derail their season.

Rioli won't play in tonight's semi-final against Geelong after ASADA launched an investigation alleging the premiership forward tampered with a urine sample taken last month.

Defender Brad Sheppard said the playing group had been rocked when they were told at the team hotel.

"Devastated aren't we - we had no idea what was going on," he said.

Reports suggest Rioli attempted to submit a liquid, believed to be a popular sports drink, other than urine as his sample.

If found guilty, the 24-year-old faces a maximum four-year ban from competitive sport.

"Absolutely feel for him - he's got a young family and he's a great character, great bloke, great friend of mine, great friend of a lot of the boys and it came as a shock," Sheppard said.

"They're dealing with it at the moment - the club, AFL, ASADA are dealing with it - so leave it with them and what will be will be, but trying to not think about it too much - got a big game tonight."

The Eagles were already facing a massive task of playing three consecutive weeks in Melbourne to defend their premiership, the doping ban adding unwanted pressure and publicity on the club.

The West Coast Eagles are devastated for teammate Willie Rioli but determined not to let his doping ban derail their season.

Rioli won't play in tonight's semi-final against Geelong after ASADA launched an investigation alleging the premiership forward tampered with a urine sample taken last month.

Defender Brad Sheppard said the playing group had been rocked when they were told at the team hotel.

"Devastated aren't we - we had no idea what was going on," he said.

Reports suggest Rioli attempted to submit a liquid, believed to be a popular sports drink, other than urine as his sample.

If found guilty, the 24-year-old faces a maximum four-year ban from competitive sport.

"Absolutely feel for him - he's got a young family and he's a great character, great bloke, great friend of mine, great friend of a lot of the boys and it came as a shock," Sheppard said.

"They're dealing with it at the moment - the club, AFL, ASADA are dealing with it - so leave it with them and what will be will be, but trying to not think about it too much - got a big game tonight."

The Eagles were already facing a massive task of playing three consecutive weeks in Melbourne to defend their premiership, the doping ban adding unwanted pressure and publicity on the club.

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