FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA - APRIL 05: Harley Bennell of the Dockers looks on during Fremantle Dockers AFL training session at Fremantle Oval on April 5, 2016 in Fremantle, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Bennell makes successful return to footy

Harley Bennell finally returned to the footy field this weekend after 16 months since his last competitive match and it was an encouraging return to the field for the 24-year-old.

Plagued by calf issues since joining Fremantle at the end of 2015, Bennell has endured an extraordinarily frustrating past two seasons.

But on Saturday, he finally made his long awaited return, playing for WAFL side, Peel Thunder.

Bennell, who was used in short bursts of around seven minutes on the field, collected 12 disposals and kicked two goals playing predominantly inside 50, as he completed the match unscathed.

“He got through really well,” Fremantle general manager of football operations Chris Bond said after the match.

“Obviously we managed his minutes pretty well, but we also managed his distance and speed.

“We’re really pleased. It was important for Harley and great to see.

“It was good to see his family there as well, because it’s been a long journey. Now we’ll just see how he recovers.”

It was not the only good news for Fremantle in the reserves on the weekend, with forward Matt Taberner kicking five goals and taking 10 marks, as Peel defeated East Perth 12.7 (79) to 7.9 (51) to climb to third on the ladder.

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