Bennell’s AFL return to be a long grind
Posted on 12/17/18 5:03 PM
Fremantle midfielder Harley Bennell is still in rehab mode after injuring his calf in February.Harley Bennell’s return from his latest calf setback continues to drag out, with the Fremantle midfielder still at least three weeks away from making a comeback via the WAFL.
Bennell injured his troublesome left calf in February and what was initially only meant to be a three-week setback has turned into much longer.
Coach Ross Lyon says Bennell is still “rehabbing” the injury, and won’t be ready to return to WAFL action for another three to four weeks.
Bennell has been plagued by calf issues since joining the club at the end of 2015, but he managed to play two AFL games at the end of last season before being cut down again over the summer.
Lyon is hopeful Bennell will return to full fitness soon and then play a significant role for the Dockers this season.
The veteran coach is also hoping star wingman Brad Hill will miss only one week with a knee injury.
Hill bravely returned to the field after injuring his knee during last week’s win over Essendon, with Lyon saying the former Hawk was lucky to escape more serious damage.
Fremantle will be aiming to make it two wins on the trot when they take on Gold Coast at Perth’s Optus Stadium on Saturday.
The Dockers have already unveiled four debutants this season and the quartet all held their own in last week’s upset 16-point win over Essendon.
Bailey Banfield, Adam Cerra, Andrew Brayshaw and Mitchell Crowden are all set to be selected again this week.
Strong performances from Lachie Neale, Nat Fyfe and David Mundy in last week’s win over Essendon allowed the club’s younger players to shine.
Neale said it was important for the club’s senior players to continue to stand up so the younger players weren’t exposed.
“It’s a marathon, the season. For the young guys, it’s about trying to back it up each week,” Neale said.
“We can’t just deliver one week and not the next.
“It’s important for our senior players, our leaders, to really drive that and perform on game day as well.
“If we don’t perform it’s going to test out our young guys, probably too much, put too much weight on them. It starts with us at the top and we’ve got to get the ball rolling.”
Gold Coast are 2-0 following wins over North Melbourne and Carlton.