RESURGENT Demon Harley Bennell could be a shock round two bolter.
The ex-Docker and Sun, who's been ravaged by calf injuries in recent seasons, has emerged from the two-month AFL shutdown period ready to challenge for a spot in the senior side.
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Bennell is training with Melbourne's secondary midfield group, along with former captain Nathan Jones, and effectively free of the restrictions he had when he started at the club in December.
The only part of Monday's session he didn't complete was some of the running, after his Gosch's Paddock hitout two days earlier with one-time Gold Coast teammate Luke Russell.
Bennell and the Demons, like the rest of the AFL, will resume full-contact training from next Monday, which will also enable him to prove himself in match simulation ahead of games returning from June 11.
The 27-year-old last played an AFL match in round 23, 2017 and his most recent competitive game at any level was for Fremantle's WAFL affiliate Peel Thunder in June last year.
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However, Bennell has made a quick impression at Melbourne, as both Jake Lever and James Harmes noted on Tuesday.
"When you get stuck over in rehab, it's probably really hard to have an impact but it's quite funny that he really has had a big impact around the group," Lever said.
"He's really quiet but really funny, so he's had a great impact around the group and for someone who's worked so hard, I'm really looking forward to seeing him get the reward he deserves."
AFL footballers were able to train in pairs during the past two months, and Harmes saw Bennell's improvement first-hand in that time.
"I was lucky to do an 'iso' session with him and he looked really good," Harmes said.
"He's a really good kick of the football, which I didn't really know, and he's been doing a lot of running at The Tan."
Bennell officially signed with the Demons in February in the pre-season supplemental selection period, and even coach Simon Goodwin's been buoyed at his progress.
"Harley is tracking really well. He's doing a lot of his running program, getting some really good load in," Goodwin told Fox Footy in April.
"So there's a really good chance that he will re-join the group when we come back into training, and train with us and be available for selection after the first few weeks, so I think that's an exciting thing for us."
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Bennell has played 83 matches since being the No.2 pick in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft.
He averaged at least 21 possessions in each season from 2012 to 2015, as well as more than a goal per game in three of those years.