Finding a home for Harley Bennell should be easy. Essendon, Richmond and both Western Australian sides have shown early interest, and Gold Coast shouldn’t be too devastated if they can reap some rewards from a trade.
On the open market, he is clearly worth a first rounder – in that 6-15 sort of range. His price would probably be around $450,000-$500,000, although a form surge or injury troubles would severely influence that.
Although the draft’s top end talent isn’t as potent as the last two years, netting top ten picks for Charlie Dixon and Harley Bennell respectively would be an ideal solution to the culture issues while also potentially assist the Suns in finding more consistent stars.
The Tigers look their best when their classy ball users like Brandon Ellis and Shane Edwards are firing. Bennell would be a perfect addition to their side, as he wouldn’t always be tagged. On top of that, he’d join a midfield rotation of five or six borderline elite players, with the back-up squad of Shaun Grigg, Nick Vlaustin and the like not being too bad either. The Tigers play a game style that would suit Bennell.
Financially, the Tigers would be paying Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin and Brett Deledio serious money. If Alex Rance re-signs, they wouldn’t be able to offer Bennell over $450,000.
Potential trade offer: First round pick (pick 10)
Bennell is exactly what Essendon needs – a quick midfielder who can provide quality service to the forwards. Paul Chapman’s contract expires at the end of this year, and the Bombers really only have Dyson Heppell, Jobe Watson and Brendan Goddard on big money, with their key position players on more reasonable deals. Financially, the Bombers would probably be able to offer the most.
Potential trade offer: First round pick (pick seven)
The Dockers seem the least likely to land Bennell, as they’ve already got a stacked midfield, with Stephen Hill and Danyle Pearce adequately filling his prospective position. With the Dockers also keen to land a young key forward, it’s unlikely they could afford Bennell too. However, the lure of a premiership medal would be intriguing for Bennell. With Lyon’s development of Pearce and Hill being a positive, as well as the prospect of going home, he could take a discounted offer.
Potential trade offer: First round pick (pick 18)+ Cameron Sutcliffe
The Eagles and the Bombers are the front runners at this stage. Bennell would slot perfectly into the Eagles’ midfield rotations, and alongside Elliot Yeo and Andrew Gaff the hurt factor of their midfield would only increase. The Eagles managed to turn Jack Darling – a star with minor off-field issues – into a model player.
The Eagles have an interesting salary situation. Plenty of money would be tied up in Nic Naitanui, Eric Mackenzie, Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling, Luke Shuey and Matt Priddis: however, they’d likely need to trade away a player to bring in Bennell, which would make the salary situation a little easier. The Eagles also have plenty of role players, who alongside a first round pick could be an attractive trade offer for the Suns.
Potential trade offer: First round pick (pick 15) + Scott Lycett