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Bennell suffers another calf injury in latest injury setback


Harley Bennell’s desperate fight to resume his AFL career has hit another snag, with the midfielder breaking down with more calf problems.

Bennell reported soreness after a training session last weekend. Scans have confirmed the Melbourne recruit had suffered a minor strain.

In a double setback for the Demons, Bennell’s latest calf complaint comes after Christian Salem was diagnosed with Glandular Fever.

Salem played in Melbourne’s successful pre-season opener against Adelaide, but missed the win over Hawthorn on Friday with “illness”.

Glandular Fever affects people differently. A typical recovery time is 2-4 weeks even if tiredness may linger for months.

But Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney said Salem was showing positive signs and could still play in the Dees’ Round 1 meeting with West Coast in Perth on March 22.

“Christian has a mild case of Glandular Fever. Pleasingly, he has been improving each day and completing running sessions and it still likely to be in the mix for Round 1,” Mahoney told

Melbourne remain unwavering in their support of Bennell and committed to a long-term revival of his career despite his ongoing calf problems.

“Harley pulled up sore following a training session on the weekend and scans have shown a low-grade strain in his calf,” Mahoney said.

“While disappointing to have this occur again, we deliberately set expectations on Harley conservatively, allowing for some setbacks.”

Bennell suffered a similar strain in late January, but less than a fortnight later the Demons signed him in the pre-season supplemental selection period, determined to play the long game.

“He understands the importance of undergoing a slow, modified program, and he knows there may be further challenges to tackle along the way,” Mahoney said at the time.

“We think that by making this decision early, it will take away an undue pressure and enable Harley to concentrate fully on this program.

The goalkicking onballer, 27, hasn’t played since 2017 and has managed only two senior games since 2015 due to an endless string of calf tears on both legs.

He flew to Germany in 2016 to consult world-leading expert Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wolfhart.

Last year he underwent two rounds of surgery in Brisbane with renowned Geelong-based sports physiotherapist Peter Stanton.

He had appeared set to become a bone fide star of the competition after being taken by Gold Coast with pick 2 in the 2010 national draft.

Sam Edmund

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