Another AFL player suspended over COVID breach

Another AFL player has been suspended, after breaching the code’s return to play protocols.

Melbourne player Harley Bennell will miss four matches and will be sent home, after he left the Queensland hub to go to an ‘unapproved premises’.

His suspension will be served across the first four weeks of the 2021 season.


While Bennell was not allowed to return to the hub after leaving his accommodation, meaning no other players have been put at risk.

The Melbourne Football Club has been fined $50,000, with none of it suspended due to protocol breaches earlier in the year.

The fine will be included in the club’s 2021 soft cap.

AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon says the protocols are the competition’s license to play and anyone breaching them will be held to account.

“Harley knew the rules and could have put his club and the competition at risk on the eve of a finals campaign,” Mr Dillon said.

The breach may have also put Bennell’s future with the club at risk, with reports he is now out of contract and was on the verge of signing a new deal.

It’s not the first time AFL players have breached their return to play protocols while in Queensland.

Two Richmond players were sent home and the club fined $100,000, after they were caught in a brawl outside a strip club in Surfers Paradise earlier this month.

Related article: Richmond players involved in Gold Coast strip club brawl suspended