Dockers banish Bennell after club scuffle

Fremantle have decided against tearing up Harley Bennell's AFL contract despite the troubled midfielder's latest off-field indiscretion.

Bennell's future was hanging by a thread after video emerged of him wrestling security staff on Sunday night at Fremantle's club 189.

The 24-year-old was intoxicated and failed to turn up the next morning to training.

Given Bennell's chequered history, he was facing the real prospect of being dumped.

But the Dockers have decided to give him another chance.

Fremantle released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying Bennell had been banished to WAFL club Peel Thunder for eight weeks as part of his punishment.

He has also been fined $15,000 ($5000 suspended), and ordered to undergo more counselling.

Bennell is in more hot water. Image: Getty

"Harley has not met our expected standards and also those of an elite AFL player," Fremantle's football operations manager Chris Bond said.

"In this instance, he consumed an excessive amount of alcohol the day before a training session.

"Whilst we have set an eight-week time frame for when Harley can return to the club and train with his teammates, ultimately that will be determined by Harley's future actions, how he responds to the measures we have put in place and whether he can consistently meet and display the standards expected by the club and the playing group."

Bennell has endured multiple injury problems amid off-field indiscretions since joining the Dockers two years ago from Gold Coast.

Midway through 2017, Fremantle ordered Bennell to undergo counselling and fined him $10,000 - half of which was suspended - after bizarre behaviour while watching a WAFL game.

Bennell twice interrupted the three-quarter time huddle of the Peel-Swan Districts match to speak to his cousin Traye Bennell.

The gifted midfielder was also kicked off a Gold Coast-bound flight in April before departure because he was intoxicated.

Bennell's time at Gold Coast was also plagued by off-field controversies.

Before joining the Dockers, photos emerged of the then-Suns player allegedly using illicit drugs.

However, the Dockers were optimistic Bennell had turned the corner late last season when he made it back for two AFL games.

Bennell's three-year deal runs out at the end of 2018.

Last season, coach Ross Lyon spoke about the need to understand just how hard Bennell's injury setbacks had been, and how they had played a part in his off-field misdemeanours.

"It would be a terrible shame, wouldn't it, to lose a young indigenous footballer in this country of this level of talent?" Lyon said.

"If anything, it's been self-harm that Harley's been involved with ... it's not great for Harley more than anyone else."

TROUBLED TIMELINE OF HARLEY BENNELL:

* May 2015: dropped alongside Trent McKenzie and Brandon Matera for drinking alcohol after a game

* July: Photos taken in 2013 emerge of Bennell with a white powder, allegedly illicit drugs

* September: The Suns put Bennell up for trade after an incident with a nightclub bouncer after the season

* December 2016: Caught driving with a suspended licence; subsequently fined $400 and disqualified from driving for nine months

* April 2017: Bennell asked to leave a Gold Coast-bound flight because of intoxication

*May: Fined $10,000 - half suspended - by the Dockers and ordered to undergo counselling after bizarre behaviour while attending a Peel game

* January 2018: Involved in a fracas with security staff at club 189 in Fremantle. Misses training the next morning. The Dockers fine him $15,000 ($5000 suspended) and order him to train away from the club for eight weeks - also told to have more counselling

Back To Top
feedback