Bennell prepared to take monster pay cut
SPEEDSTER Harley Bennell is prepared to play for as little as $80,000 this season to extend his injury-hit career at Melbourne.
The midfielder will be paid a minimum rookie wage if he is successful in landing the last spot on the Demons' list, despite another calf setback last week.
Under the AFL's collective bargaining agreement, Bennell would receive a base payment of $80,000 plus $4000 a match.
The revelation comes after it was confirmed on Monday the linebreaker had suffered another calf injury at training last week, continuing his horror run of injuries in his lower legs.
But the Demons are yet to put a line through Bennell and believe the setback is only minor.
The 84-gamer completed some light running at the club's pre-season camp in Maroochydore on Tuesday and was filmed slotting a brilliant goal from deep on the boundary line off two steps.
The club had realistic expectations Bennell was more than likely going to take until the second half of the season to be ready to push for selection.
Melbourne will continue talks with Bennell and senior club figures about the prospects of signing him, fully aware there could be further calf niggles throughout the year as he tries to rebuild the strength in his legs and regain peak conditioning.
He had surgery on both calves in recent months to try and correct the previously undetected nerve problem which had been plaguing him.
But he was also told it will take time to make a full recovery and that there could be small setbacks along the way.
The No. 2 draft pick has fitted in well to the playing group and is determined to put behind him some of the off-field flare-ups which impacted his stints at Gold Coast and Fremantle.
Melbourne has until March 15 to list Bennell and has already signed former Bombers' key forward Mitch Brown as a rookie.