Suns welcome back young gun Bennell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Suns welcome back young gun Bennell

Laine Clark 08/07/2011 06:39:06 PM Comments (0)

Ability was never a problem for No.2 AFL draft pick Harley Bennell.

Attitude? Well, that was another story.

But Gold Coast assistant Shane O'Bree believes the talented forward has finally turned the corner ahead of the Suns' home clash on Saturday night with Sydney.

Bennell, 18, marked his papers five weeks ago when he failed to return in time after their away clash against West Coast in his home state of WA.

He lost the trust of team-mates when he arrived back on the Gold Coast two days later than scheduled, ensuring he missed a recovery and training session for the Suns.

He blamed homesickness - it didn't hold much water.

The talented Bennell has since moved in with high-profile team-mate Karmichael Hunt and turned it all around.

Taken under the former Broncos' wing, Bennell has knuckled down and made it abundantly clear he is ready for an AFL recall.

The leadership group finally agreed, giving him the green light for inclusion in Saturday night's home clash with the Swans.

"He's been fantastic," O'Bree said.

"He copped it (criticism) on the chin.

"He has been working away on everything he has to do.

"The playing group has helped Harley as well so he didn't fall away (after his axing).

"The last month he has stuck to the program and done everything every other AFL player has to do and his form in the reserves has been really good."

Bennell - part of a family which features four brothers and four sisters - said he wants to be a long-term Suns' prospect after his early hiccup.

"I copped it on the chin. I'm really happy just to get back," he told the Suns' website.

"I've done everything I could.

"I had to train hard and buy into the program.

"It's my dream to play AFL football and I'd love to stay at the club for 10 years."

Bennell returns along with on-baller Michael Rischitelli, ruckman Rory Thompson and forward Tom Lynch.

Sydney have made five changes in their bid tosnap a three-game losing streak.

Reigning club champion Kieren Jack and ruckman Shane Mumford are back in the Swans' line-up alongside Nick Malceski, Nick Smith and ex-West Coast Eagle Matt Spangher, who will make his debut for the Swans.

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