Ben­nell scan­dal re­sults in fine

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - Last Week 3 GREG DAVIS Last Week 7 Last Week 4

THE Gold Coast Suns have whacked bad boy Har­ley Ben­nell with a $ 5000 fine and a sus­pended three- match ban for his in­volve­ment in the drugs saga that has en­gulfed the club.

Ben­nell was pho­tographed with an al­leged il­licit sub­stance in a Launce­s­ton ho­tel room in 2013, and the im­age was splashed over the front pages of news­pa­pers around the coun­try two weeks ago.

Ben­nell is not avail­able for se­nior se­lec­tion this week­end but is avail­able for the s e c o n d - t i e r NEAFL this Satur­day.

He will be avail­able for se­nior se­lec­tion next week­end, which will take his time away from the big time to three matches since the photos first emerged.

Ben­nell has also been told he must ad­here to an off- field wel­fare pro­gram as well as the stan­dards and ex­pec­ta­tions of the play­ing group.

The Suns de­scribed the player’s $ 5000 fine as a “con­tri­bu­tion’’ to the off- field pro­grams be­ing put in place for Ben­nell.

The sanc­tions were agreed to by Ben­nell, his man­age­ment, the AFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and the Suns. They were an­nounced yesterday by Suns CEO An­drew Travis.

“Har­ley has bought into this plan,’’ Travis said.

“It’s now up to him to re­spond to this plan.’’ Suns coach Rod­ney Eade said Ben­nell had been “con­trite’’ in cri­sis talks the past fort­night.

He asked Ben­nell if he wanted to stay at the club and the tal­ented midfielder said he did.

Travis also ad­dressed the en­tire Suns play­ing group and out­lined the stan­dards the club ex­pected for player be­hav­iour.

“Ev­ery sin­gle player is now very, very clear about what we ex­pect,’’ he said. “We need to win back some re­spect, and we will.’’

Travis said he ex­pected the wider in­ves­ti­ga­tion into drug use at the club to be com­plete by next week.

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