Bennell to train with Demons
MELBOURNE are in the box seat to take a punt on Harley Bennell after the injury-ravaged wingman accepted an invite to train with the club.
Bennell, who is desperate to secure a career lifeline after constant calf trouble, will train with the Demons from next month after touring the club last week.
Sources are confident recent surgery on both of Bennell's calves has removed the issue which had restricted him to only two games in the past four years.
Stream over 50 sports Live & On-Demand with KAYO SPORTS on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Just $25/month, no lock-in contract. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >
Importantly, he looms as the perfect outside midfield acquisition for a club which is flush with hard nut onballers and needs more run and class.
Geelong is also interested in Bennell, while Sydney's enthusiasm has cooled.
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 emerged last week the Demons were the frontrunners to sign the injury-plagued ex-Docker who has played just two AFL games since 2015 due to a myriad of 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 Demons during 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 footy 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 that he will bring the right attitude to attack the individual program he will be given."