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Bennell's inspiration

Nathan Schmook  December 13, 2012 9:45 AM

Meet the Rookies: Jamie Bennell Selected with pick number 35 in the 2008 AFL National Draft, the West Australian moves back home to the West Coast Eagles
jamie-bennell-press200.jpg

[Brad Dick] was in the same situation as me basically and is onto the senior list now after playing some good footy in the WAFL.
WEST Coast recruit Jamie Bennell has identified the perfect role model in teammate Brad Dick as he looks to recover from a knee reconstruction and kick-start his second stint in the AFL.

After being delisted by Collingwood, Dick arrived at West Coast via the rookie draft 12 months ago and spent the first half of 2012 recovering from a knee reconstruction.

He made his WAFL playing return in June and went on to kick 27 goals in 11 senior games with East Fremantle, earning promotion to the Eagles' senior list for 2013.

Bennell, who hopes to be playing at WAFL level during the first half of the season, said Dick's example gave him confidence he could make the most of his second AFL chance.

"He was in the same situation as me basically and is onto the senior list now after playing some good footy in the WAFL," Bennell said on Wednesday.

"Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.

"We're five months down from my reconstruction, and I'll be in the rehab group for a while yet.

"So we'll focus on my knee at the moment and go from there.

"I'm very excited and very grateful to the West Coast Eagles for picking me up."

Bennell said he had feared his AFL career would be over when he was delisted by the Demons in October, and he had since been completing rehabilitation on his own.

The Eagles and Fremantle both expressed interest in recruiting the 22-year-old as a rookie and Bennell said it was nice to arrive at a club that had rated him highly since he was a teenager.
"You feel a lot better when you know a club really rates you highly, so hopefully I can come back and play good footy for them now," he said.

Bennell, who supported West Coast as a youngster, will wear the No. 44 jumper made famous by club favourite David Wirrpanda.

Defender Jacob Brennan has moved into the No. 14 guernsey his father, Michael, wore as a dual premiership-winning Eagle after it was made available.

Sharrod Wellingham (No. 12), Jamie Cripps (No. 15), Brant Colledge (No. 21), Callum Sinclair (No. 22), Mark Hutchings (No. 34) and Cale Morton (No. 40) were also allocated their jumper numbers for 2013.