Suspended ban, fine for Suns’ Bennell

Gold Coast Suns boss Andrew Travis says it is now up to Harley Bennell to show he wants a long-term future at the AFL club after punishing the midfielder on Thursday.

Bennell copped a $5000 fine and three match suspended ban but will be considered for an AFL round 17 return against Adelaide next week.

He has already missed two AFL games since being stood down by the club after images only recently emerged of him with an alleged illicit substance in 2013.

Bennell will play in the second tier NEAFL this weekend.

He will also undergo an off-field welfare program drawn up by the club and their chief medical officer.

Asked if Bennell’s future at the AFL club was safe, Travis said: “From our point of view it is now up to him to respond to this plan.

“It gives him a real opportunity to demonstrate that he is prepared to make long term changes and live up to the expectations required of him on and off field.”

Travis said the club had worked with Bennell, his manager, the AFL Players’ Association and the Suns chief medical officer to determine a plan for the midfielder.

“It’s why we have taken a while to get to this position,” he said.

“We wanted to get a comprehensive plan in place and one that he has committed to.

“The signs we are looking for to see him embrace this have been encouraging.”

Suns coach Rodney Eade said Bennell had been contrite since the images were revealed.

He said the midfielder told him that he wanted to stay at the club and appeared “determined to do the right thing”.

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