THERE is fresh drama surrounding Harley Bennell’s troubled career at Fremantle, with the club confirming it is investigating the injured star’s behaviour at a WAFL game at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
Bennell, who is yet to play a game for the Dockers due to persistent calf injuries, was in the crowd for Peel Thunder’s 21-point win over Swan Districts in Mandurah yesterday.
The 24-year-old former No.2 draft pick warned a Channel 7 camera person not to film him during the afternoon.
Bennell went out to the three-quarter-time huddle and twice pulled Peel youngster Traye Bennell aside before being spoken to by Fremantle assistant Roger Hayden.
The former Gold Coast Sun then returned to sit with his friends in the stands and later picked up a Channel 7 camera cord in the Peel rooms after the game.
When told to put the cord down he was heard to say: “Sorry mate, I was only mucking around.”
Dockers assistant Marc Webb walked Bennell out of the ground and spoke to him for about five minutes before the richly talented midfielder walked away from the stadium with his friends.
A spokesman for Fremantle last night said they were investigating his conduct but were yet to speak to all of the relevant parties.
They said they would not be making any further comment until the investigation was completed.
Peel coach Cam Shepherd said he was unaware of Bennell’s actions.
“I didn’t see what you mentioned,” Shepherd said after the game. “I was busy doing my job. That’s not normal practice (to pull players out of the huddle). If he did pull him aside, it would no doubt be to help him play.”
It comes just weeks after Bennell was asked to leave a flight because he was intoxicated.
“Due to a recurring injury problem which has prevented him from playing all of last year and now for the next eight to 10 weeks following another setback last week, Harley has been dealing with the frustration and disappointment of not being able to play AFL football,” General manager of football operations Chris Bond said at the time.
“We are disappointed that Harley consumed alcohol to the extent that airline staff felt he was unfit to take the flight.
“As a club it is important that we continue to support and provide guidance to Harley on how best to cope with the frustration and disappointment of not playing football.”
Bennell has played just one WAFL game in round one last season since the club traded for him at the end of 2015 and signed him on a three-year deal.
He went to Germany for treatment on his troublesome calves in December, but suffered a setback last month.