Sun in bid to save his career at club
Bennell on mission
HARLEY Bennell will today begin a seven- week mission to salvage his career at the Suns.
The Gold Coast have put Bennell’s drugs scandal behind them and welcomed him back into the team to take on the Crows at the Adelaide Oval today.
The photos of Bennell with drugs and strippers in a Tasmanian hotel will not cost him his career. As far back as last summer, before the photos emerged, Suns officials were debating his future at the club because it appeared he was not committed enough to his football and his teammates.
There was concern at his propensity to float in and out of games, his departure from a player who would win his own footy to one who allowed teammates to do the heavy lifting, his failure to comply with team rules and his poor defensive practices. The drinking ban and the drugs scandal just added to frustrations.
However, there is a growing view the scandal may have provided the turning point the prodigiously talented 22- yearold needed.
Coach Rodney Eade said because the photos were taken in 2013, he had never felt personally let down by the player.
His take on the situation was Bennell should be judged on how he responded to the negative publicity.
He passed that mark with a contrite round of interviews during the week and will now be judged on his professionalism and commitment to the cause.
“We don’t expect him to be the best player, we just want him to do his job,’’ Eade said.
“We just want him to contribute as a team player. His form in the twos last week was terrific, he’s trained well, I think he’s in a reasonable head space.’’
Eade said he had been pleased with the changes he had observed in the star mid- fielder over the three weeks he sat out footy.
“We all make mistakes,” Eade said. “It’s a reasonably big mistake, but it was two- and- ahalf years ago.
“For me, we’ve moved on and it’s more about the welfare of the person. There’s a fair bit of contrition there.
“He likes his teammates, he wants to be involved, and you can see there’s been responsibility taken and he acknowledges what he needs to do.”
Charlie Dixon also returns from an ankle injury today for the Suns.