Harley Bennell has suffered another off-season setback with the 25 year-old suffering a minor calf strain while training with WAFL team Peel Thunder in the last week.
The former Sun has only played two AFL games since joining Fremantle and again faces a delayed start to the 2018 season.
Injuries and discipline issues have hampered the Western Australian in recent years. Unfortunately this off-season has seen more of the same.
In January Harley Bennell was fined $15,000 and told to train away from the AFL club and also attend mandatory counselling sessions after video emerged of the midfielder in a scuffle at a Perth nightclub.
After failing to turn up to training the next day after the alcohol fuelled outing there was every possibility the Dockers would part ways with their recent recruit. Instead they gave Bennell what will surely be his final lifeline.
Fremantle Football Operations Manager Chris Bond made it perfectly clear. The road to redemption for Harley Bennell would require a lot of hard work.
“Whilst we have set an eight-week time frame for when Harley can return to the club and train with his teammates, ultimately that will be determined by Harley’s future actions, how he responds to the measures we have put in place and whether he can consistently meet and display the standards expected by the club and the playing group.”
Repaying the faith
The Dockers secured Bennell from Gold Coast on a three year deal at the end of 2015. And the reality is another poor season will spell the end of his Dockers tenure and possibly his AFL career.
Harley Bennell’s last chance
Underneath all the issues in recent years there is a very talented footballer who is capable of having an impact at AFL level. But there is not much margin for error from here on in.
I was convinced 2017 was going to be the season Harley Bennell would prove the critics wrong. But that did not go according to plan. 2018 is now last roll of the dice.