He’s arrived with the bad boy reputation but former Gold Coast midfielder Harley Bennell has made a good early impression at Fremantle.
Bennell started preseason training sooner than expected, taking part in his first Dockers session on Monday as the club’s first to fourth-year players were put through their paces at Fremantle Oval.
The 23-year-old hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last season when pictures emerged of him allegedly racking up lines of white powder on a hotel desk.
Gold Coast gave Bennell another chance to atone for his off-field misadventure but finally lost patience when he was charged with disorderly behaviour after a cigarette was slapped from the mouth of a bouncer outside a nightclub in September.
The Dockers threw Bennell a lifeline via a trade with Gold Coast and the speedy midfielder has wasted little time in impressing his new club.
“I’ve never met him before,” Dockers midfielder Lachie Neale said.
“He was in high spirits and ran quite strongly out there.
“I think everyone knows the talent that he’s got – obviously his speed and his goalkicking ability and just his power run from stoppages.
“He’ll be an important piece to us and we’re excited to have him.”
Fremantle struggled for scoring potency for much of last season but the inclusion of Bennell should help significantly.
He booted 23 goals from 15 games in 2014 but Neale said it would take a team effort to improve the club’s goal-scoring.
“It’s something that won’t be up to one or two people, it will be a collective,” he said.
“Our ball movement has got to be better.
“We’ll work on a few things to change that and maybe tinker with the game plan a little bit to bring a more attacking edge.”
Another player who impressed on Monday was Anthony Morabito, who looks in good shape as he attempts to resume his career following three knee reconstructions and a host of niggles.
Morabito was delisted by the Dockers after failing to play a single game last season but the club has committed to redrafting him as a rookie.
“He looks in great nick,” Neale said.
“He came down before and said he was feeling really good after that run and skills session. Hopefully it stays that way.”