Willie Rioli’s long-awaited AFL return will have to wait after he was ruled out of Saturday’s clash with Brisbane because of hamstring tightness.

Jeremy McGovern (hip) and Josh Kennedy (finger) have also been scratched against the Lions in another huge blow, with the star West Coast duo joining Tim Kelly (knee) and Brad Sheppard (concussion) on the sidelines.

Rioli was available to return against Brisbane after serving his two-year ban for twice substituting a urine sample during an anti-doping test.

The 26-year-old has been training at the Eagles for the past two months, but a recent case of hamstring soreness curtailed his comeback plans.

“Disappointing. He’s pulled up a bit tight a couple of days ago and unfortunately we can’t play him – as much as we all would love to,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

“It’s the way of our season a little bit, on occasions when we’re ready to bring people in we either lose people or they don’t get to the line.

“But it’s been a really good process for him and the club. The last eight weeks, really proud of what he’s done.

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“He’s got complete buy-in from our players and staff. He’s back. His suspension’s over, he just won’t be playing this week.”

Rioli is still a chance to play AFL this year if the Eagles sneak into the finals. If they miss, he can play in the WAFL.

West Coast need to beat Brisbane and hope either GWS or Essendon lose in order to sneak into the top eight.

The loss of McGovern, Kennedy, Sheppard and Kelly is a huge blow to their victory hopes against Brisbane.

AAP

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