He’s played just two AFL games in the past four years. But if Harley Bennell gets his body right, the AFL should be on notice.
He’s played just two AFL games in the past four years. But if Harley Bennell gets his body right, the AFL should be on notice.

Forgotten star set for stunning comeback

Fox Footy analysts David King and Dermott Brereton believe Melbourne must play Harley Bennell in round two if he's fully fit, saying now is the time the club must "find out" if he is truly capable of resuming his injury-interrupted AFL career.

Bennell hasn't played a senior match since round 23, 2017 with Fremantle, the club that delisted him at the end of last year.

The 27-year-old began training with Melbourne in December last year before being officially signed in February as part of the pre-season supplemental selection period.

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With the former No. 2 draft pick now having joined in match practice with his new club, the Fox Footy Live team debated whether he should be selected for the season-restart.

"Melbourne need to see him, I think they've gotta see him," two-time premiership player David King said.

"They've got a new talent... he could have a massive impact on I reckon their forward line... he's had injury, he's had horrific calf problems we understand that, but if he is fit and has put a block of eight weeks of training together which we all think he has, they'll have a better handle on that clearly than any of us but if he's right to go you've gotta see him.

"You've gotta reward him too, he's come from a long way back this kid."

Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton agreed Bennell should be picked if ready, but said the midfield would suit Bennell better than the forward line.

Bennell has worked with renowned fitness coach Darren Burgess to get himself right for AFL action.
Bennell has worked with renowned fitness coach Darren Burgess to get himself right for AFL action.

"They need talent on the ground so I think they're obligated to pick him," he said.

"I would not be inclined to play him up forward because when you play up forward there are times you go from naught to 100, you've gotta be explosive. I wouldn't put his body through that, I would start him in the middle so he can get the contest, cruise to the contest.

"Maybe then a bit of speed around there but I'd like him running in motion in the middle of the ground."

King said if Bennell was fit, it's time to test him out on the AFL track.

"You're either right or you're not, aren't you? It's June, this guy's been fighting for his spot on the list for six months, it's not like we've never seen him.

"We haven't just seen him all of a sudden learn how to run. This guy he's 27 years of age.

"They need to find out. I mean if you're not gonna find out in round two what do you do, you wait four more weeks, eight more training sessions?"

Originally published as Forgotten star set for stunning comeback


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