Midfielder Harley Bennell will begin training with Melbourne following the AFL Draft.

The club contacted the former Gold Coast and Fremantle player on Monday afternoon, who gladly accepted the invitation to train with the red and blue.

“We are pleased that Harley has accepted our offer to train over pre-season,” General Manager of Football Operations Josh Mahoney told Melbourne Media.

“Harley has been through some well-documented challenges throughout his career and we are happy to offer him an opportunity for a fresh start.

“Both the club and Harley are fully aware of the hurdles that are in front of him to return to playing AFL, but we are committed to working together over the pre-season, and potentially beyond.”

The agreement comes after Bennell, who has actively sought a return to the AFL in recent months, met with the Demons last week.

While it’s an exciting prospect for the 27-year-old, all parties understand the hard work that’s ahead. 

“Harley is at the starting line in terms of getting his body prepared for AFL,” Mahoney said.

“We all know it will be a slow, well-planned program, with many little milestones and potential setbacks, before any thoughts regarding an impact at AFL level.

“Harley has undergone a new intervention into his calf issues and has committed to some lifestyle changes, and we are confident that he will bring the right attitude to attack the individual program he will be given.

“We look forward to him starting training in December and working together.”

Originally from Peel Thunder, Bennell was drafted to the SUNS with pick No.2 in the 2010 AFL Draft, before joining Fremantle at the end of 2015.

He was released from his playing contract with the Dockers in July, and currently has 83 AFL games to his name.