Sport Bennell's AFL return to be a long grind

07:51  05 april  2018
07:51  05 april  2018 Source:   MSN

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Fremantle' s Harley Bennell will finally make his Dockers debut in the AFL clash with Richmond. Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says he won't be expecting miracles from Harley Bennell when the prized recruit makes his long -awaited AFL return against Richmond on Sunday.

The one bright spot to come out of the game for Fremantle was the successful AFL return of Harley Bennell , who booted two-first The Saints and Kangaroos formed a guard of honour for Riewoldt as he was chaired from the ground . Riewoldt then did a lap of honour to acknowledge the fans.

Injury-plagued Fremantle midfielder Harley Bennell is still in rehab mode after injuring his left calf in February.© Paul Kane/Getty Images Injury-plagued Fremantle midfielder Harley Bennell is still in rehab mode after injuring his left 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.

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Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade said that although Bennell had a long way to go, Saturday's performance was pleasing. Asked what returning to AFL football would do for Bennell ' s mindset, Eade said it was a step towards the outcome the club was hoping for.

Fremantle haven't given up hope of Harley Bennell returning this AFL season after a series of issues on and off the field. "He' s obviously been in rehab for a long time now and it' s never easy, and no one likes to see guys spend long periods of time in there," he said.

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.

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Harley Bennell is yet to make his maiden AFL appearance for Fremantle. (AAP). Fremantle players are getting excited as Harley Bennell closes in on his long -awaited return to the AFL .

Youth no longer an excuse for Pies - Swan. 33dNick Metallinos. Prized Fremantle recruit Harley Bennell could be just weeks away from an AFL return after he made it through Saturday' s WAFL hit-out unscathed.

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.

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