Bennell excited for shot at Eagles
Bennell excited for shot at Eagles

Carey Park product Jamie Bennell was this week handed an AFL lifeline when he was picked up by West Coast in the rookie draft.

The Eagles selected the former Melbourne forward with pick 27 in Tuesday’s draft.

The 22-year-old was one of three Bunbury footballers de-listed by AFL clubs at the close of the 2012 season.

The others, former Essendon forward Kyle Reimers and Collingwood onballer Kirk Ugle were overlooked in the Pre-Season and Rookie drafts and will not play in the AFL next year.

Former Busselton player Brendan Lee was also delisted by Essendon in September after being selected by the Bombers with pick 78 in last year’s rookie draft.

Bennell, who followed the draft online on Tuesday morning, told the South Western Times the wait to see if he would be picked up was excruciating.

“The Eagles said they were interested but you just can’t tell when it comes down to the draft. Anything can happen,” he said.

“It was a really nervous wait.”

Bennell played 57 games for Melbourne after being selected with pick 35 in the 2008 National Draft.

The silky forward returns to WA recovering from a knee reconstruction.

He says his rehabilitation is on track and is looking forward to the chance of continuing his career in his home State.

“It will be good. I’ve always had family support but it will be good to see them a little bit more often,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to getting back there and getting into some hard work.”

West Coast Eagles’ national recruiting manager Rohan O’Brien told the club’s website Bennell had been a target for some time.

“We rated Jamie fairly highly in his draft year (2008) and he’s played 50-odd games of league footy and played some reasonable games amongst them,” he said.

“He offers some variety, playing forward and playing back and with his talent he should be able to pinch-hit through the midfield as well.”

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