FREMANTLE has been dealt another blow with star recruit Harley Bennell ruled out for the rest of the AFL season.
On Thursday, the Dockers revealed the gun midfielder had suffered a serious re-tear in his calf.
The injury places the 23-year-old alongside Aaron Sandilands, Stephen Hill and Michael Johnson on an ever-growing list of wounded Dockers.
Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe has already been ruled out for the season.
Bennell had been troubled by a calf injury during the pre-season.
After a strong showing in a warm-up clash with Geelong, Bennell’s injury flared after lining up for alignment club Peel in the WAFL the following week.
The club worked hard to get him back up and running but an MRI this week confirmed he had re-injured the calf.
Fremantle’s principal physiotherapist Jeff Boyle said Bennell was ruled out following consultation with international experts.
“Harley sustained a calf injury on March 19 and since then has been undergoing a comprehensive rehabilitation program,” he said.
“During this rehabilitation phase, Harley has re-torn the area of the calf that was previously damaged and based on that information we feel that we need a longer period of time to rehabilitate.
“We’ve sought opinions from national and international experts and their indication is that we just need to take a longer period of time to allow this tissue to heal properly and then to reload the calf so it can sustain the running conditioning we want him to be able to achieve.”
It was a massive blow for the former Gold Coast Sun, who moved back to his home state at the end of last year.
Many saw his recruitment as a big boost for Fremantle, with his ability to complement an A-list midfield and chip in up forward where the Dockers had struggled previously.