WANNABE Dee Harley Bennell took another step in his recovery on Monday as he aims to join Melbourne's main training group in late January.
The ex-Docker and Sun had surgery on both of his calves post-season and is training with the Demons in the hope of winning the club's final list berth via the pre-season supplemental selection period.
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Bennell was on Gosch's Paddock for about 45 minutes, starting with knee drives against a resistance band, then some change-of-direction work and run-throughs at solid pace along the boundary line on one side of the oval.
Harley Bennell did solid run-throughs on one side of the oval for most of his session pic.twitter.com/ZTY9ksrtP5— Marc McGowan (@ByMarcMcGowan) December 16, 2019
He also did some stationary kicking on both feet before going inside.
Bennell appears to have fitted in well at the Demons and looks relaxed and happy during his training hit-outs.
Harley Bennell stationary kicking on both feet pic.twitter.com/cCTvWsJLh9— Marc McGowan (@ByMarcMcGowan) December 16, 2019
The 27-year-old is doing mindfulness work away from his football activities and is enjoying living in Melbourne with his partner, Amy, and their six-month-old daughter, Carter-Ivy Logan.
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Bennell told AFL.com.au in September that providing a better life for his family is a driving force behind him chasing a third chance at AFL level.
"I've made some wrong decisions in my time and that's put me in some s--- positions but I've learned from those," Bennell said.
"I just think I've still got a lot more in the tank. I've come this far and I'm not going to give up, just because of my latest injury. I'm not a person who will just chuck the towel in and give up.
"I love training and I love football. Without football, who knows where I'll be?
"Getting a third opportunity at the highest level would be life-changing for myself and my partner and my family – it would be the luckiest thing. It would mean a lot to me and my family."
The Demons finish training for the year on Thursday and return on January 10 but AFL.com.au understands Bennell will continue to run through the Christmas break.
He won't be returning to Western Australia during that period.
The next critical step for Bennell is to increase the speed and intensity of his running.
There is still no promise from Melbourne about offering him a contract for 2020 but it is likely to be as simple as him making it through the pre-season – or much of it – without a setback.
Bennell chose the Dees over other suitors, two of which offered for him to train with them before the draft.