THE SECOND coming of Harley Bennell at Fremantle is edging closer, but draftee Stefan Giro was the standout on a dirty day for Peel against WAFL powerhouse Subiaco.

The Grand Final rematch flopped as a contest, with the undefeated Lions smashing the two-time reigning premiers by 92 points at Rushton Park on Saturday.

But a positive for Dockers fans was Bennell getting through about 70 minutes unscathed and showing some class in his second game since his latest calf setback in February.

Giro also proved he won't be far off an appearance in purple.

The speedy rookie was one of Peel's few four-quarter performers – along with ex-Bomber Ben Howlett (22 possessions, 13 tackles) – and collected a team-high 27 disposals, laid nine tackles and kicked a clever snap goal in the opening term.  

It was Giro's third game back from a medial strain and the South Australian has improved with every match, pushing his case to become Freo's sixth debutant in 2018.

"He's only a young man, but he's starting to understand the game," Peel coach Cam Shepherd told

"He's only played three or four games but he's taken steps forward."

After spending the entire first quarter on the bench as planned, Bennell finished with eight disposals, six marks and a close-range goal. 

His aerial work was the highlight, with the former Suns star showing a strong pair of hands.

"I haven't had the medical but I think he's got through and he'll improve as he gets more footy into him," Shepherd said.

"The expectation from everyone is high with Harley.

"It's always hard to play when you're on limited game time, so I think we're hopeful that he'll blossom."

It is likely Bennell will need at least another two games at WAFL level before being considered for senior selection.

He played four-straight Peel games late last year before being picked for his Dockers debut.

On Saturday, Bennell let the handbrake go and clicked into top speed, showing no signs of the soft-tissue dramas that have stalled his career.

The former No.2 draft pick has played just two AFL matches since being traded to Freo at the end of 2015.

Bennell has enjoyed steadfast support from Ross Lyon throughout his injury and off-field problems.

The Freo coach is getting excited by the 25-year-old's latest attempt at resurrecting his career, thrilled at his success working with a ballet physiotherapist.

"He's actually running as freely and with high-end speed and power as we've seen since he's been here," Lyon said this week.

"If that can keep happening, we can all start to get a little bit excited."

While Peel's backline was under siege (61-33 inside 50s), forgotten Docker Shane Kersten did his best to stem the tide.

Switched to defence in a bid to reignite his career, Kersten limited the WAFL's leading goalkicker Brad Stevenson to three majors and picked up 19 touches with five marks.

"I remember looking at the stats at one stage and Stevenson, although he'd kicked three (goals), he'd only had three kicks, so Shane's playing well in that position," Shepherd said.

"He's certainly, in my view, continuing to press for higher selection."

Big man Scott Jones (six marks) took some strong grabs playing mainly up forward, while Tommy Sheridan (21 disposals) and Ethan Hughes (22) tried hard.

The Thunder, which had 11 Dockers in the line-up, appeared to escape unscathed, with Giro running out an apparent corked leg and Tom North (13) playing through a sore shoulder.