AFL player Harley Bennell increased pressure on rivals recently when his bizarre off-field behaviour earned him his second nomination for The Frownlow Medal in 2017.
Bennell interrupted a three-quarter huddle during a WAFL game between Peel Thunder and Swan Districts, which was his second incident in 2017 alone, after a string of incidents when he played for the Gold Coast Suns.
The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. Kiwi international and Sydney Roosters player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while Corey Norman from the Parramatta Eels won in 2016.
The Fremantle player put his hand up for nomination earlier in the year when he was evicted from a domestic flight for alleged intoxication, and was responding to pressure from NRL player Kyle Lovett.
Lovett earned his second Frownlow nomination when he was drawn into a street brawl in Balmain, after trying to hide cocaine in his undies earlier in the year.
The Dockers midfielder was slapped with a $10,000 fine for his bizarre interjection and is hoping the judges of The Frownlow Medal will remember this, as well as his driving offences, drug use, intoxication and eventual sacking by the Suns in previous seasons.
Bennell is also hoping that victory in The Frownlow Medal will make up for a poor 2017 season, which has been ruined by a lingering calf injury.
Meanwhile, the Dockers are offering counselling and support to their star nominee and have sought advice from a kindergarten teacher on how to best develop a “growth mindset”.
First published in May, 2017.