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Sport Bennell's ex-coach reveals moving exchange

18:15  30 september  2020
18:15  30 september  2020 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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Ross Lyon has opened up on his moving exchange with Harley Bennell after he was hospitalised this week, confirming that the retiring Demon is heading back to Perth.

Bennell called quits on his AFL career at just 27 and was taken to hospital via an ambulance from an apartment in Broadbeach just hours after his announcement.

Lyon, who shares a close relationship with Bennell from their time together in Fremantle, shared his messages to the troubled AFL star in the wake of his retirement.

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"I spoke to him after the COVID-19 breach on the Sunday night and then over the last couple of days through texts because it was very hard to reach Harley on the phone," a visibly emotional Lyon told Nine's Footy Classified.

Ross Lyon looking at the camera: Ross Lyon was coach of the Dockers when the club brought Harley Bennell over from the Gold Coast Suns © Getty Ross Lyon was coach of the Dockers when the club brought Harley Bennell over from the Gold Coast Suns

"As of today, he's got the ticket home, the application has gone through and he'll be home in Perth in the next 48 hours which is really important.

"A boy's dream comes to the end and it's devastating and he's going to need support.

"I don't know what's occurred (and) I haven't asked. I knew where he was, but I never ask, 'Who are you with? What are you doing?', it was just, 'Can I support you? Are you okay? We need to get you home'.

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"Now that's organised, I'm really pleased to get him home to his family."

Harley Bennell standing on a baseball field: Harley Bennell called time on his AFL career this week after just five games for Melbourne in 2020 © Getty Harley Bennell called time on his AFL career this week after just five games for Melbourne in 2020

Lyon's comments came after Bennell's mother Kayleen pleaded for the public to back off from criticising her son.

"It needs to stop, the bullying and the name-calling...it needs to stop," she told Nine News Perth.

"Once he gets back home I think he'll be fine, and I think he finds it hard because there's no family there to support him."

Bennell played five matches for Melbourne this season after being handed a lifeline by the club, and is understood to have been on the verge of a contract extension for 2021, before being handed a four-match ban for breaching the AFL's COVID-19 protocols in the Queensland AFL hub.


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This is interesting!