Demons con­sider Ben­nell

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - KATE SALEMME

HAR­LEY Ben­nell is one step closer to re­viv­ing his AFL ca­reer af­ter agree­ing to train with Mel­bourne.

The for­mer No.2 draft pick will be­gin train­ing with the Demons af­ter the AFL Draft, which will be held across two nights on Novem­ber 27-28.

It was re­ported last week the Demons were the fron­trun­ners to sign the in­jury­plagued ex-Docker who has played just two AFL games since 2015 due to myr­iad calf and soft tis­sue in­juries.

If the trial is suc­cess­ful, Ben­nell could join his third AFL club as a rookie and be signed by the Dees in the pre-sea­son sup­ple­men­tal se­lec­tion pe­riod.

“We are pleased that Har­ley has ac­cepted our of­fer to train over pre-sea­son,” Mel­bourne foot­ball man­ager Josh Ma­honey said.

“Har­ley has been through some well-doc­u­mented chal­lenges through­out his ca­reer and we are happy to of­fer him an op­por­tu­nity for a fresh start.

“Both the club and Har­ley are fully aware of the hur­dles that are in front of him to re­turn to play­ing AFL, but we are com­mit­ted to work­ing to­gether over the pre-sea­son, and po­ten­tially be­yond.”

Sev­eral clubs have shown in­ter­est in throw­ing Ben­nell a life­line, in­clud­ing Gee­long and Syd­ney, but Ben­nell is ex­cited by the prospect of re­unit­ing with for­mer Gold Coast team­mate Steven May at Mel­bourne. The 27-year-old has un­der­gone two rounds of surgery in a bid to get to the bot­tom of his calf is­sues.

He is ex­pected to re­sume run­ning shortly, with the Demons to take a very cau­tious ap­proach to his train­ing.

“Har­ley is at the start­ing line in terms of get­ting his body pre­pared for AFL,” Ma­honey said. “We all know it will be a slow, well-planned pro­gram, with many lit­tle mile­stones and po­ten­tial set­backs, be­fore any thoughts re­gard­ing an im­pact at AFL level.

“Har­ley has un­der­gone a new in­ter­ven­tion into his calf is­sues and has com­mit­ted to some life­style changes, and we are con­fi­dent he will bring the right at­ti­tude to at­tack the in­di­vid­ual pro­gram he will be given.”

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