HARLEY Bennell is another step closer to resuming his injury-plagued AFL career with Melbourne after accepting an offer to train with the Demons during the pre-season.
The 27-year-old will start training with the Demons in December and is eligible to play in practice and pre-season games.
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He can then be selected in the supplementary selection period ahead of the 2020 season.
"We are pleased that Harley has accepted our offer to train over pre-season," Melbourne's general manager of football operations Josh Mahoney told Melbourne's website.
"Harley has been through some well-documented challenges throughout his career and we are happy to offer him an opportunity for a fresh start.
"Both the club and Harley are fully aware of the hurdles that are in front of him to return to playing AFL, but we are committed to working together over the pre-season, and potentially beyond."
Bennell has received interest from several clubs, including Sydney and Geelong, since being delisted by Fremantle at the end of last season.
He has been hampered by persistent calf injuries during his 83-game career with Gold Coast and Fremantle.
His most recent AFL games came in late 2017, but he managed several WAFL games this year before suffering another calf problem in June.
Harley Bennell in action against Richmond in 2017. Picture: AFL Photos
Mahoney said there was plenty of work in front of Bennell before the Demons decided if they would put him on the list.
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"Harley is at the starting line in terms of getting his body prepared for (the) AFL," Mahoney said.
"We all know it will be a slow, well-planned program, with many little milestones and potential setbacks, before any thoughts regarding an impact at AFL level.
"Harley has undergone a new intervention into his calf issues and has committed to some lifestyle changes, and we are confident that he will bring the right attitude to attack the individual program he will be given.
"We look forward to him starting training in December and working together."