Let me preface this by saying I am by no means an expert here. But...No way will they lessen the penalty for "not understanding the rules". Willie's a professional athlete ffs.
I am sure I read somewhere that the ASADA out of competition test (the substitution) wasn't/doesn't test for illicit drugs (only PEDs). The inference being that Willie thought it was an AFL test, which is the type that incurs a strike (no idea if he is on 0 strikes or 1 currently).
So whilst it may not be a good defence, there is certainly a case to be made based on this story/report that not understanding the rules is the only reason he did it (no one is going to risk a 4 year ban trying to avoid a 8-12 match ban).
Potentially though he may be able to argue that he thought it was a different test (Not sure if there is any penalty or a different penalty for avoiding an AFL test). That could be an option. Going to take someone smarter than me to work it out though!
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