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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 D 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.

      • 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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