Former Gold Coast, Fremantle and Melbourne midfielder Harley Bennell is set for a return to Victoria this year in a bid to potentially reignite his AFL career, stating he's "going to give it one more crack."
Bennell last featured in the top flight in 2020 with Melbourne, playing five games in the red and blue after joining the Demons as a Supplemental Selection Period signing.
His time with Melbourne would be cut short after breaching the league's COVID protocols, with the midfield-forward hybrid receiving a four-game suspension and the Demons handed a $50,000 fine. Bennell would soon be delisted by the club.
Since his departure from the AFL, Bennell has continued to remain fit while playing football across Western Australia and the Northern Territory, most recently with the Tiwi Bombers in the NTFL.
The 30-year-old featured in the NTFL representative team's win over South Fremantle at TIO Stadium over the weekend, being among a handful of ex-AFL players to appear in the contest.
While Bennell will continue to feature for the Tiwi Bombers in the NTFL, the former top two draft pick is set to head to Melbourne following talks with a VFL club for the 2023 season.
Likely to make the switch to Victoria midway through the year, Bennell revealed to The West Australian that his move to the footy-centric state is hopefully a step toward an AFL return.
“I'm heading off to Melbourne after this season to give it one more crack,” he said.
“I'm in talks with a VFL team at the moment, I won't say who but I'm going to give it one more crack.
“I think coming up here (Tiwi Islands) was the best thing for me, I've only been up here for five months but it's been a life-changing experience.”
Bennell played a total of 88 games in the AFL across stints with the Suns, Dockers and Demons after joining the league as a member of Gold Coast's inaugural side for the 2011 season.
He would play 81 matches across five seasons for the Queensland club before heading back to WA in a move to Fremantle.
The Peel Thunder product would manage four seasons with the Dockers, however only featured in two games for Fremantle due to off-field indiscretions and injury.
Midway through the 2019 season he would depart Fremantle before eventually linking up with Melbourne the following pre-season.
Should Bennell do enough to attract AFL clubs this year, the 185cm midfielder could be on the radar of clubs for the Mid-Season Draft, or as an off-season recruit as a National or Rookie Draft recruit.