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Harley can win a Brownlow, says teammate

Dimma's deal, Harley's hope, Greene's cash Tuesday Footy Feed from AFL.com.au

HARLEY Bennell could be a "future Brownlow medallist" if he can overcome ongoing calf problems and off-field issues, Fremantle teammate Joel Hamling says.

Bennell returned to Dockers headquarters on Tuesday after serving his eight-week club-imposed suspension following a nightclub scuffle in January.

It is unclear when Bennell, who is rehabbing another calf setback, will be available to play again, with his path back to the Dockers likely to come via Peel.

Hamling declared the 25-year-old had guidelines to meet before he wins back his teammates' trust, but wouldn't elaborate on those "in-house" requirements.

While Fremantle is yet to reap significant return on investment in Bennell after just two games in two seasons, Hamling backed the former Sun to get back to his brilliant best with his career on the line.

"Harley Bennell at his finest is a star of the game. He's probably a future Brownlow medallist, I would've thought," Hamling said.

"When he's fit and firing he's a star.

"(He has to) just put his head down and work hard, obviously he's got guidelines he has to meet to get our respect back.

"It's going to be hard for him, but he's a strong individual and he's a good character as well so he'll work through it."

Hamling said Bennell was "bubbly" and "ready to go" on his first day back at the club, where he will be supported by his teammates in his bid to get back on track.

"Harley's only young, he's only 25," Hamling said.

"You've got to grow up really quick in the AFL. He's still learning how to live a normal life, especially in the AFL you get scrutinised a lot.

"For Harley to come back to the club this week and get his life back on the track and the guys who support him the most, it's going to be good for him."

Hamling slotted seamlessly into Freo's backline last year after crossing from the Western Bulldogs, and is keen to partner with returning key defender Alex Pearce in 2018.

Pearce was rock-solid in his first game back from a twice-broken leg in the Dockers' JLT Community Series loss to Adelaide, while his marking was a feature during a scratch match win over West Coast on Sunday.

The 200cm young gun has been elevated into the leadership group and shapes as the Dockers' long-term answer at centre half-back.

"Alex is a well-driven individual," Hamling said.

"The way he goes about it training on and off-field (he's) certainly a great leader of this club.

"I wouldn't say I've been surprised how he's come back."

Hamling, who finished sixth in the Doig Medal last year, battled groin soreness before Christmas and in January, but declared he is ready to go ahead of round one.

"It's all good now, I've had a pretty solid pre-season," he said.

"I've done six pre-seasons now … so I'm pretty confident in my body and my ability, so it's not going to hinder me at all."