Demons hand Harley Bennell AFL lifeline

Oliver Caffrey and Callum Godde
Injury-plagued Harley Bennell has been offered an AFL lifeline by the Melbourne Demons

Talented midfielder Harley Bennell has overcome injury obstacles and off-field troubles to find a third AFL home at Melbourne.

Despite another setback to Bennell's troublesome left calf, the Demons have confirmed the signing of the former Gold Coast and Fremantle livewire.

The 27-year-old has been training with Melbourne since December after being cut loose by the Dockers following a frustrating four-season stint.

After heading back home to Western Australia in 2016, Bennell managed just two games during his time at Fremantle.

Melbourne's football boss Josh Mahoney said the club would would back in Bennell to recover from his latest injury, suffered during a rehab session last week.

"Harley's journey will be long-term, and both he and the club are aligned in where he's currently at in terms of making a return to playing," he said.

"We think that by making this decision early, it will take away an undue pressure and enable Harley to concentrate fully on this program.

"He understands the importance of undergoing a slow, modified program, and he knows there may be further challenges.

"Although he has faced some minor setbacks over the past two months, he has taken this opportunity with both hands."

The Demons have added Bennell to their list via the AFL's Supplemental Selection Period.

The No.2 draft pick in 2010 looked set to be a bona fide star during his 81 games with Gold Coast before the Suns traded him to Fremantle.

His only two games for the Dockers came in the final two rounds of the 2017 season.