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| Q4 - 28:00

Docker Bennell closing in on AFL return


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    Prized Fremantle recruit Harley Bennell could be just weeks away from an AFL return after he made it through Saturday’s WAFL hit-out unscathed.

    Bennell, playing his first match in 16 months, was solid in his 60 minutes of action for Peel Thunder against East Perth at Leederville Oval.

    Playing as a forward, Bennell tallied 12 disposals and a goal before being wrapped in cotton wool.

    Peel Thunder won the match 12.7 (79) to 7.9 (51).

    Bennell crossed to the Dockers at the end of 2015, but he’s yet to play a senior game for the club because of chronic calf issues.

    Dockers coach Ross Lyon was on hand to watch Bennell play on Saturday, and he would have been breathing a big sigh of relief after watching his star midfielder make it through unscathed.

    “We managed his minutes pretty well but we also managed his distance and speed,” Fremantle football operations manager Chris Bond said.

    “It was important for Harley and it was great to see.

    “He’s a classy player and has performed at the highest level consistently before, so we’re confident he’ll get back to playing good footy.

    “The most important thing is he feels really well (about the game) and that’s what he has done.”

    If all goes to plan, Bennell will play at least two more games for Peel, before a possible Dockers debut in the round 20 clash with Gold Coast in Perth.

    Forward Matt Taberner pushed his claims for a recall with a five-goal haul.

    Taberner also tallied 27 disposals and 10 marks.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • July 16th 2017 @ 1:33pm
      Mattyb said | July 16th 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

      Bennell could return before the seasons out but a couple of points could do with some extensions.
      Yes he did play forward but it’s worth pointing out he played deep forward and didn’t venture much from around the goal square. I’d say he was told not to run to much and he didn’t appear to really break out of a jog.
      His minutes were certainly managed and he was never on the ground for longer than around five minutes at a time,this was managed very strictly.

      Great to see Bennell back and he’d be a huge asset for the Dockers next season. It would be good to see him have an AFL run before the seasons out. Sounds like Freo plan to have him playing WAFL finals this year as they named him last week,but he didn’t play and they have said it was to qualify him for the finals. The WAFL should really try and tidy that rule up but seeing Bennell out their is very exciting so I suppose the fans win which is good.

    • July 17th 2017 @ 6:22pm
      Don Freo said | July 17th 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

      He showed great pace and great manouverability. 7 minutes on, 7 minutes off.

      He has been going full pace at training and blitzed them all (the Freo squad) at full match training during the bye week.

    • Roar Pro

      July 18th 2017 @ 10:03am
      anon said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

      You certainly wouldn’t re-sign him after this season given that he’s had calf problems over the entirety of his time at the dockers (and plagued by off field issues).

      I bet the dockers do sign him up again. They always approach these things from a position of desperation.

      • July 21st 2017 @ 5:27pm
        dontknowmuchaboutfootball said | July 21st 2017 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

        Thanks for this, anon, I haven’t had such a belly laugh for ages.

      • July 21st 2017 @ 11:13pm
        Don Freo said | July 21st 2017 @ 11:13pm | ! Report

        What off field issues do you think “plague” him? I’d guarantee not one of them is in the thoughts of anyone bar you.

        When a calf injury heals, it is no longer an injury.

        Try Zac Dawson. Freo might agree with you there.

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