PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15: Michael Barlow of the Dockers handballs during the round 17 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Geelong Cats at Domain Stadium on July 15, 2016 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Gold Coast recruit Michael Barlow says former teammate Harley Bennell played a pivotal role in ensuring he enjoyed the Suns fr season 2017.

Barlow, who was not offered a new contract by the Dockers beyond this year, signed with the Suns as a delisted free agent last week.

The 28-year-old says Dockers’ teammate Bennell, who spent five seasons at the Suns, provided a glowing endorsement of the club, which swayed his decision to sign with the expansion club.

“Harley’s time here was probably shorter than he would have liked and the club would potentially have liked, but he was really complimentary of the playing group and the lifestyle as well,’’ he said.


“I think, for me I have been in the footy bubble for seven years now and specifically this year it did become suffocating and at times overwhelming.

“I had a good chat to Harley about what it is like here and there is a good balance of being able to commit as fiercely as you can as a professional athlete but you can step away from it also at times.

“I have been in his ears a bit about the transition and to be honest he has been nothing but complimentary.’’

Barlow also said the Suns made him feel incredibly welcomed and needed when they met with him prior to signing on the dotted line.

“With the Gold Coast situation, I felt like I was really wanted,” he said.

“There was a pitch to me to come and be involved.’’