Bennell closing in on sweet AFL return

By Justin Chadwick,

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24 Have your say

    Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says he should send a box of chocolates to the team’s new physio weapon for her wonder work on Harley Bennell.

    Bennell has been blighted by calf injuries since arriving at Fremantle at the end of 2015, playing just two AFL games since.

    Even German specialist Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt couldn’t find a permanent fix to the issues.

    But ballet conditioning expert Paula Baird has made some significant inroads since starting work earlier this year with Bennell.

    Bennell, after a successful WAFL return earlier this month, will line up again for Peel Thunder in Saturday’s clash with Subiaco in Mandurah.

    “I need to send her a box of chocolates – the physiotherapist from the ballet,” Lyon said.

    “What she’s done with him has really contributed strongly and complemented the program we had in place.

    “He’s actually running as freely and with high-end speed and power as we’ve seen since he’s been here.

    “If that can keep happening, we can all start to get a little bit excited.”

    Bennell’s time at Fremantle has also been plagued by off-field misdemeanours.

    Lyon is hopeful the story will have a happy ending.

    “The kid’s been to hell and back,” Lyon said of Bennell, who could make his AFL return early next month.

    “(He’s been) under a lot of scrutiny – sometimes brought upon himself; sometimes not fair; not accurate.

    “But he’ll just keep working through. He’s showed great resilience and we don’t want to lose players with his level of talent out of the game for whatever reason.

    “In recent history, there’s been some sad stories. We don’t want another one.”

    Bennell suffered a perforated ear drum earlier this week, but it was not expected to rule him out of Saturday’s WAFL match.

    The Dockers have been boosted by the return of Michael Walters (knee) and Nathan Wilson (back) for Saturday night’s clash with Sydney at the SCG.

    But Stephen Hill will miss another week with a quad injury.

    No timeline has been set for Brad Hill’s return from a knee issue.

    Hill suffered the injury in round two, and Lyon said the club needed to tread carefully, given heavy bruising like that could be a precursor to a stress reaction or a fracture.

    Once the former Hawk is ready to return, he’ll have to spend a week in the WAFL as part of his club-imposed suspension for his run-in with police earlier this month at a Scarborough night spot.

    Hill was also ordered to undergo an alcohol education program as part of his punishment.

    “Good people sometimes get it wrong. He sits in that basket,” Lyon said.

    “He’ll work his way through. He’s been, overall, fantastic for us as a club.”

    Sydney produced a selection surprise by naming Lance Franklin and Dan Hannebery.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • May 18th 2018 @ 9:05am
      I ate pies said | May 18th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

      Remember what happened when Essendon hired “the weapon”?

      • May 18th 2018 @ 11:02am
        Tanami Mehmet said | May 18th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        Ha, making a comparison of a “ballet conditioning expert” and “The Weapon” is pure comedy gold.

    • Roar Guru

      May 18th 2018 @ 10:42am
      Paul Dawson said | May 18th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      Well I hope he gets back and gets at least a couple of uninterrupted seasons. Would be good to see after all that has happened

    • Roar Rookie

      May 18th 2018 @ 11:03am
      Michael Pallaris said | May 18th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

      Good luck to him.

    • May 18th 2018 @ 11:11am
      Mattyb said | May 18th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

      I’m surprised more players don’t do ballet in this day and age,really good for the muscles and we are seeing most clubs with severe injury tolls,should be something clubs look into.
      Will be back in Perth next week so if Bennell can get through this week I’ll definitely be off to watch Peel next week if Bennells there.

      • May 18th 2018 @ 12:04pm
        Kris said | May 18th 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

        Michael Gale was doing ballet exercises for his hamstring injuries back in the 90s. It is basically Pilates and most clubs would be doing Pilates and/or Yoga sessions.

        • May 18th 2018 @ 12:48pm
          Mattyb said | May 18th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

          Kris,I don’t think I’d compare ballet to yoga,ballet is more about strength and flexibility of the ligaments while yoga is more just about flexibility,even over stretching which could be harmful for professional athletes.
          In fact maybe clubs are doing to much yoga and that’s why we are seeing so many injuries,I think it would have more a spiritual benifit than a benifit sport wise,and the mental side of things would probably be better served by a sports psychologist for a sportsperson.
          I’m also not sure if yoga is the best thing for back alignment,which is important for an athlete.
          It would be interesting to find out what studies or practises in regards to yoga are undertaken in countries like Russia or China that AFL clubs might be able to benifit from.

        • Roar Guru

          May 18th 2018 @ 3:24pm
          Dalgety Carrington said | May 18th 2018 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

          We had a kid in our footy team at school who did ballet. He could fly for hangers like nobodies business.

    • Roar Pro

      May 18th 2018 @ 12:28pm
      anon said | May 18th 2018 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

      “I need to send her a box of chocolates – the physiotherapist from the ballet,” Lyon said.

      No, Rossy. Just no.

      By the way, the Bennell will he won’t he play drama is out of hand. I’ve never come across anything like it in my lifetime of watching this game and many other sports.

      If after 2.5 seasons he can’t get on the park because of calf problems, if everytime he gets on the park he aggravates his calves, then he’s never going to make it as a footballer.

      Fremantle would be sensible to cut him loose at year’s end, but this is a club that consistently makes poor decisions so it won’t surprise me to see him stay on.

      • Roar Pro

        May 18th 2018 @ 1:13pm
        anon said | May 18th 2018 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        Not hateful just being pragmatic.

        If you can only manage two games in 2.5 seasons and constantly break down then you aren’t suited to the rigours of the AFL.

        By any measure the punt they took on Bennell has been nothing short of a disaster.

        Not only breaks down constantly, but clearly doesn’t take preparation, training, recovery, preseason seriously with his numerous off field indiscretions.

        • Roar Guru

          May 18th 2018 @ 1:30pm
          Paul Dawson said | May 18th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

          Couldn’t help yourself with Ross though could you. Only you could turn a remark about a gift of thank you into a sleazy sneer.

          Even if Freo got rid of Bennell you’d then be into them for not looking after his welfare. With comments like this doozy

          December 26th 2016 @ 01:43 pm
          anon said
          “Sounds like it to me. (Shane) Yarran’s up with his mates in the Kimberley, got on the turps. It’s not too far fetched when you consider this guy doesn’t have much impulse control and has anger issues ie. glassing someone in the face, violently assaulting someone while a baby was in the next room.

          The guy is a monster and it’s only a matter time before he kills.“

          Did you forget to add himself to the end of that sentence? You were saying about not being hateful?

          • Roar Rookie

            May 18th 2018 @ 1:45pm
            Mattician6x6 said | May 18th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

            Paul not defending anon but for yourself to be outraged is not perplexing but more a come on mate, off the top of my head you’ve made less than savoury comments about cousins, sampi and Phil Walsh/cy Walsh.

            • May 18th 2018 @ 3:07pm
              Jonboy said | May 18th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

              I agree Matti i, will set myself up for more hateful insult’s from a bloke who thinks he is Big and full of love.

        • Roar Pro

          May 18th 2018 @ 1:49pm
          anon said | May 18th 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

          Couldn’t help yourself with Ross though could you. Only you could turn a remark about a gift of thank you into a sleazy sneer.

          No sense of humour. If you can’t make gentle jokes about sexual harassers then who can you laugh at?

          Even if Freo got rid of Bennell you’d then be into them for not looking after his welfare. With comments like this doozy

          Yarran invaded a home and violently assaulted the occupants while a baby was in the next room. I stand by my comments.

          • Roar Guru

            May 18th 2018 @ 6:08pm
            Paul Dawson said | May 18th 2018 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

            Sure, but anyone else makes that remark and I wouldn’t care. It’s like every time you write on here you forget I have a memory like rain man. Because it’s you, it’s not just a gentle joke

            No arguments with that part – What about the last sentence? I’m interested to know what your motivation was for including that part?

            • May 18th 2018 @ 7:06pm
              Birdman said | May 18th 2018 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

              Have to admit that I thought Ross was trolling with that comment.

        • May 19th 2018 @ 10:17am
          Don Freo said | May 19th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

          Oh, his time at Gold Coast showed he was well and truly suited to the rigours of AFL football.

          This is so anon…an expert on gossip tabloids but absolutely no idea of a players’ playing history. But…comment anyway.

      • May 19th 2018 @ 1:25am
        Don Freo said | May 19th 2018 @ 1:25am | ! Report

        I’d imagine the coach that supports a player and brings him through against the odds really jars against your narrative. I understand your disappointment.

        Toughen up, anon. A few ballet lessons might give your mind some flexibility and strength.

    • May 18th 2018 @ 1:30pm
      Jonboy said | May 18th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

      I have been a critic,but despite all the issues he appears to have worked incredibly hard to get back so hopefully he can. Could have easily given up.

      • May 18th 2018 @ 3:24pm
        Kane said | May 18th 2018 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

        He could be anything if he gets himself right. And he needs to get off the grog for a couple of years.

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