Dockers fine Harley Bennell $10,000

By Justin Chadwick,

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    Fremantle have fined troubled midfielder Harley Bennell $10,000 and ordered him to undergo counselling for his recent bizarre off-field behaviour.

    The 24-year-old twice interrupted the three-quarter time huddle of Saturday’s WAFL match between Peel Thunder and Swan Districts to speak to his cousin Traye Bennell.

    Harley Bennell met coach Ross Lyon, chief executive Steve Rosich, and football operations manager Chris Bond on Tuesday to discuss the incident.

    Later that day, Fremantle released a statement revealing they had fined Bennell $10,000 – half of which had been suspended for 12 months.

    Bennell has agreed to start seeing an external expert counsellor to help deal with personal issues.

    The 81-game midfielder has been plagued by calf injuries since being traded at the end of 2015 from Gold Coast to Fremantle.

    Yet to play a senior game for the Dockers, he was left devastated last month when another calf injury ruled him out for 10 more weeks.

    Shortly after that setback, Bennell was ordered off a Virgin Australia flight, bound for the Gold Coast, after he was deemed to be intoxicated.

    It is unclear whether alcohol was involved in Saturday’s incident at the WAFL game.

    “With regard to his off-field conduct since his injury setback, it has been made clear to Harley what expectations the club and his teammates have and the standards and behaviours that need to be maintained,” Bond said in a statement.

    Veteran AFL analyst Mike Sheahan predicts Bennell won’t play another match again at the top level, citing his injury history and litany of off-field behavioural problems.

    But Lyon is confident Bennell will be able to return in about five or six weeks to WAFL ranks, before pushing for an AFL recall.

    Lyon concedes Bennell is facing a personal struggle in dealing with the constant calf injuries that have halted his once-promising career.

    “From the time he re-injured his aponeurosis (in his calf), after he absolutely dedicated himself, clearly he’s been devastated,” Lyon told Fox Footy.

    “Now if you’re a professional player and potentially one of the best players in the land and you’ve dedicated yourself … and it implodes on you again 18 months in, people go through anger, frustration, denial, sadness and there’s no doubt, somewhere on that curve, he’s sitting.

    “But he needs to gather himself and give it meaning and come out and reboot – that’s exactly where we’re at.”

    Teammate Shane Kersten said Bennell still had the full support of the player group.

    “He’s one of our brothers,” Kersten said.

    “We’re not a club to go and hang our brothers out and leave them to dry.

    “We’re fully behind him at the moment.

    “He’s been in good spirits around the club the last few days.”

    In 2015, Bennell’s career plunged into crisis when pictures emerged of him with lines of white powder.

    The photos were taken in 2013.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • Roar Guru

      May 17th 2017 @ 9:39am
      Paul D said | May 17th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      You can turn off your bbq now Don, Harley’s cooked

      • May 17th 2017 @ 1:49pm
        Gecko said | May 17th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

        Just wait. Don the spin doctor can resuscitate any patient’s image. He just can’t resuscitate the patient.

        • Roar Guru

          May 17th 2017 @ 3:29pm
          Dalgety Carrington said | May 17th 2017 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

          The whole bru-ha-ha around what happened on Sunday is so typical of the Perth footy media. Speaks more about the self-important types like Steve Butler who played a central role in whipping up the flames (and just quietly has his own lost night in New York due to a “drink-spiking” incident) about a guy who was keen to pass on some footy tips to a family member at Peel (where technically he’s a player too).

          • Roar Guru

            May 17th 2017 @ 3:36pm
            AdelaideDocker said | May 17th 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

            And the fact that Ross has been asked for the past FOUR DAYS about the incident is annoying me as well.

            The media needs to chill out, honestly. But speculation and innuendo is a vital part of the industry, I guess. Need to get those online clicks + newspaper sales somehow, I guess.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 1:59pm
      SmithHatesMaxwell said | May 17th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

      The excuses the Dockers (Lyon in particular) are making for Bennell is now becoming a little pathetic.

      He’s an employee, this is a football club, he’s well-compensated, he’s been given many chances to improve his behaviour, but Bennell is just taking the mickey out of the club now.

      This isn’t a guy that has some personal problems. He’s a bad apple, and always has been. If you remember, when Gold Coast were shopping him around (with 2 years left on his contract mind you), no-one was interested except the Dockers. I think he had an interview with Richmond but it was a complete disaster.

      The Dockers should negotiate a pay out with him right now, with the money they save from paying him out early use it to book him into a rehab facility, and be done with him. Since when did professional footy clubs become babysitting services for overindulged footballers.

      • Roar Guru

        May 17th 2017 @ 4:56pm
        Paul D said | May 17th 2017 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

        Fremantle are free to spend salary cap space on whoever they want. If they still believe Bennell is worth persisting with because the potential upside if he can get himself back on the park is worthwhile, then that’s their call.

        Their excuses aren’t pathetic, they are entirely consistent with a club who still deems Bennell to be a necessary player and will support him through his issues. Since when do you care about Freo anyway. I would have thought you’d be happy to see them wasting money.

        The only thing pathetic is the same tired old crap you keep on putting up every time there’s a topic about Freo.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 3:26pm
      Don Freo said | May 17th 2017 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

      “In 2015, Bennell’s career plunged into crisis when pictures emerged of him with lines of white powder.

      The photos were taken in 2013.”

      Why does every lazy journalist’s article about Harley finish with this? There’s nothing new here. When the boy doesn’t train hard and doesn’t do rehab…that’s when there is an issue. Freo is engaging best practice with its pastoral approach here.

      Ross’ comments throughout illustrate why he is so respected at the club and throughout the industry.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 5:39pm
      Axle and the Guru said | May 17th 2017 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

      I personally don’t see what Bennell has done wrong here,and as most know, I think he is a no hoper, but he has done nothing wrong by talking to someone in a huddle, some pressmen are like a lot of people, they need to grow up.

      • Roar Guru

        May 17th 2017 @ 5:49pm
        Cat said | May 17th 2017 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

        So if you walked onto the ground and into the huddle of some random game you expect no one to care?

        • Roar Guru

          May 17th 2017 @ 5:55pm
          AdelaideDocker said | May 17th 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

          Nice try, dude. By some random game, you mean ‘game being played by his team, and featuring his cousin’.

          A random person would obviously attract negative attention, but a listed player seeing his cousin? Wrong place, wrong time, obviously, but nothing more than a media-beat up. Drastic overreaction if there ever was one.

          This is getting ridiculous now.

        • May 17th 2017 @ 7:01pm
          Axle and the Guru said | May 17th 2017 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

          Hardly a random game, and considering there on the same playing list, I have to ask, do you even know what your talking about? Didn’t you read the article?maybe your just waking up down there in sleepy hollow.

          • May 17th 2017 @ 10:20pm
            Don Freo said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:20pm | ! Report

            I doubt Cat knows about the nexus between Freo and Peel. Probably doesn’t know Roger Hayden’s role either. That’s just her.

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