Dockers banish Bennell after club scuffle


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    Fremantle have decided against tearing up Harley Bennell’s AFL contract despite the troubled midfielder’s latest off-field indiscretion.

    Bennell’s future was hanging by a thread after video emerged of him wrestling security staff on Sunday night at Fremantle’s club 189.

    The 24-year-old was intoxicated and failed to turn up the next morning to training.

    Given Bennell’s chequered history, he was facing the real prospect of being dumped.

    But the Dockers have decided to give him another chance.

    Fremantle released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying Bennell had been banished to WAFL club Peel Thunder for eight weeks as part of his punishment.

    He has also been fined $15,000 ($5000 suspended), and ordered to undergo more counselling.

    “Harley has not met our expected standards and also those of an elite AFL player,” Fremantle’s football operations manager Chris Bond said.

    “In this instance, he consumed an excessive amount of alcohol the day before a training session.

    “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.”

    Bennell has endured multiple injury problems amid off-field indiscretions since joining the Dockers two years ago from Gold Coast.

    Midway through 2017, Fremantle ordered Bennell to undergo counselling and fined him $10,000 – half of which was suspended – after bizarre behaviour while watching a WAFL game.

    Bennell twice interrupted the three-quarter time huddle of the Peel-Swan Districts match to speak to his cousin Traye Bennell.

    The gifted midfielder was also kicked off a Gold Coast-bound flight in April before departure because he was intoxicated.

    Bennell’s time at Gold Coast was also plagued by off-field controversies.

    Before joining the Dockers, photos emerged of the then-Suns player allegedly using illicit drugs.

    However, the Dockers were optimistic Bennell had turned the corner late last season when he made it back for two AFL games.

    Bennell’s three-year deal runs out at the end of 2018.

    Last season, coach Ross Lyon spoke about the need to understand just how hard Bennell’s injury setbacks had been, and how they had played a part in his off-field misdemeanours.

    “It would be a terrible shame, wouldn’t it, to lose a young indigenous footballer in this country of this level of talent?” Lyon said.

    “If anything, it’s been self-harm that Harley’s been involved with … it’s not great for Harley more than anyone else.”


    * May 2015: dropped alongside Trent McKenzie and Brandon Matera for drinking alcohol after a game

    * July: Photos taken in 2013 emerge of Bennell with a white powder, allegedly illicit drugs

    * September: The Suns put Bennell up for trade after an incident with a nightclub bouncer after the season

    * December 2016: Caught driving with a suspended licence; subsequently fined $400 and disqualified from driving for nine months

    * April 2017: Bennell asked to leave a Gold Coast-bound flight because of intoxication

    *May: Fined $10,000 – half suspended – by the Dockers and ordered to undergo counselling after bizarre behaviour while attending a Peel game

    * January 2018: Involved in a fracas with security staff at club 189 in Fremantle. Misses training the next morning. The Dockers fine him $15,000 ($5000 suspended) and order him to train away from the club for eight weeks – also told to have more counselling

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (163)

    • January 10th 2018 @ 6:53am
      Slane said | January 10th 2018 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      Jeeze, I really thought moving to Perth might be enough to straighten Harley out. It seems that this prodigious talent is destined for the scrap-heap. He just keeps wasting his opportunity.

    • Roar Guru

      January 10th 2018 @ 8:22am
      AdelaideDocker said | January 10th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      It’s getting beyond frustrating now. I can excuse injuries, but this is just absolute rubbish. Banishing him should be a genuine wake-up call, you’d hope. I’m still hopeful – Ross has done good things with Walters, but I’m slowly losing hope every-time news like this arises.

    • Roar Guru

      January 10th 2018 @ 8:31am
      DingoGray said | January 10th 2018 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      more chances then many have been offered.

      • Roar Guru

        January 10th 2018 @ 9:49am
        Cat said | January 10th 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Chances are directly proportional to (perceived) ability.

        • Roar Guru

          January 10th 2018 @ 10:05am
          Paul D said | January 10th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          And also the club – Freo aren’t exactly awash with elite talent, loads of honest triers but a player like Bennell is a rare egg for them.

          At least he stuffed up during January, and not during the season. Plenty of time to recover and decide if he wants to be an AFL footballer or not, this is his last chance this year.

          • Roar Guru

            January 10th 2018 @ 10:15am
            Dalgety Carrington said | January 10th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

            To be fair, no club is awash with the kind of talent Harley could unleash.

        • Roar Guru

          January 10th 2018 @ 10:13am
          Dalgety Carrington said | January 10th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report

          Totally spot on. It’s an elite competition, of course the chances need to be harder to get, but you want to give that kind of talent every practicable chance.

    • Roar Pro

      January 10th 2018 @ 12:38pm
      anon said | January 10th 2018 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

      What a disaster this has been. I said it would never work out and even I couldn’t have predicted how bad it would turn out. A couple of games in a couple of years, a litany of legal and behavioural problems, mysterious calf injury that has taken two years to heal (have you ever heard of such a thing?).

      Wouldn’t surprise me if Freo re-sign him at the end of this season. Weak football culture tolerates this. Clarkson wouldn’t accept this.

      • January 12th 2018 @ 12:20pm
        Don Freo said | January 12th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

        Deep. I wonder if any club organization would ever accept you. Bitter and angry about everything.

    • January 10th 2018 @ 12:47pm
      Mattyb said | January 10th 2018 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

      Not a good weekend for the AFL with this and Bomber Thompson.

      • January 10th 2018 @ 7:24pm
        Joe B said | January 10th 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

        Not much info on the Thompson story… it sounds like he has tenants, in a commercial property he owns, that turned out to be drug dealers.

        • Roar Guru

          January 12th 2018 @ 1:34pm
          Paul D said | January 12th 2018 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          Whoever dug up this clip from 2008 is a genius

    • January 10th 2018 @ 1:12pm
      Macca said | January 10th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

      25 years old, only 83 games in 8 years, only once played more than 15 games in a season, only 32 games in the last 4 years and multiple drunk and alcohol issues the risk reward for sticking with Bennell is becoming very skewed towards the risk despite his talent.

      • January 10th 2018 @ 7:53pm
        Jon boy said | January 10th 2018 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

        Macca i agree with you 100%…. If he steps into another Pub or Night Club should be sacked ,he has way to many chances already another wasted space on the list not a culture you want in a club two other offenders in the last 12 months.

        • January 12th 2018 @ 12:21pm
          Don Freo said | January 12th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

          He’s young. Isn’t that your criterion for everything?

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