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'You can see it's struck home': Sonny on Bennell

Harley Bennell has been ordered to train with Peel Thunder - AFL,Fremantle Dockers,Michael Walters,Harley Bennell
Harley Bennell has been ordered to train with Peel Thunder
He knows that you have to act the best you can whether you're at the club or away from the club. You can see now that it has struck home. He's working hard and he just can't wait to get back.
Michael Walters on Harley Bennell

MICHAEL Walters turned his career around after being banished to Swan Districts and the Fremantle star believes it has "struck home" for Dockers exile Harley Bennell that off-field actions are critical to his football future. 

Walters, a leadership group member at Freo, has been speaking regularly with Bennell since he was ordered away to train at Peel for at least eight weeks following a nightclub altercation in January.

"There's no doubt he's doing all the right things," Walters said.

"Harley's been in the system for a number of years now and things haven't gone his way in the past, but nothing changes. 

"His work-rate is still there, his skills are still there and we just hope to see him back very soon.

"He knows that you have to act the best you can whether you're at the club or away from the club.

"You can see now that it has struck home. 

"He's working hard and he just can't wait to get back."

Walters was sent to train at Swan Districts in January 2012 after failing to meet the physical requirements for AFL football. 

The realisation that his career was slipping away before his eyes, plus the obvious disappointment from his family, motivated the then 21-year-old to shed 13kg and realise his potential.

Walters has become a three-time leading goalkicker at the Dockers and the damaging left-footer is capable of being a match-winner in attack or through midfield.

"My wife was pregnant at the time and I knew that in order for me to provide for my family I had to play AFL footy," Walters reflected on Monday.

"That kept me in the right mindset and also on track to get back. 

"For Harley, he's a quality player, he's someone that we really need and I just hope he's back very soon."

Despite a knee injury bringing a premature end to his 2017 campaign and restricting him early this pre-season, Walters said he has never been fitter as he prepares for a shift into an expanded midfield role this year.

Walters will take part in Fremantle's AFLX campaign in Adelaide this week and believes the new seven-a-side format on a rectangular field will be handy preparation ahead of round one.

"It does, it gets you ready. Whether it's JLT (Community Series) or this new concept AFLX, there's little ways to make you improve," Walters said. 

"Whether its running, skills or under pressure as well, so it's something I'm really looking forward to."