AFL star Harley Bennell has been rushed to hospital following a night out on the Gold Coast – just hours after he announced his retirement in the wake of a COVID-19 breach.
The Melbourne Demons player was ordered to leave Queensland after breaking the club bubble to visit an ‘unapproved premises’ in Maroochydore on September 19.
The 27-year-old retired after the incident on Monday, while the Demons were fined $50,000.
Bennell was reportedly taken to hospital on Monday night after police were called to the Aria building at Broadbeach following reports of a disturbance at about 8pm.
Sources told The Courier-Mail Bennell was heavily intoxicated after celebrating the end of his AFL career and officers decided to call an ambulance.
AFL star Harley Bennell (pictured with girlfriend Amy Crellin) remains in Queensland despite being told to leave by the AFL
Bennell’s partner and child already left the state in the days after his coronavirus breach.
Earlier, Melbourne CEO Gary Pert said Bennell’s actions were selfish and a ‘clear breach’ of the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols.
‘He has made a very poor decision, which is incredibly disappointing,’ Pert said.
‘He has not only put himself, his teammates and the competition at risk, but he has failed to live up to the values of the Melbourne Football Club.’
Pert apologised for the midfielder’s behaviour and said the club accepted the $50,000 fine.
Upon learning of a potential breach, the Demons immediately notified the AFL, which investigated the matter.
The 27-year-old (pictured in action for The Demons) breached the AFL’s COVID-19 return to play safety protocols to visit an ‘unapproved premises’ in Maroochydore on September 19
AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said the AFL’s 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,’ Dillon said.
The midfielder and former No.2 draft pick took to social media to call time on his rollercoaster 88-game career, which began in 2011 at Gold Coast.
Posting a photo on Instagram of himself in a jumper at all three of his AFL clubs – the Suns, Fremantle and the Demons – Bennell said it had been the ‘best 10 years of my life’.
‘Thank you to everyone that was involved. It was an awesome ride,’ Bennell wrote.
Bennell started his AFL career with the Gold Coast Suns (pictured) where he enjoyed a breakout season in 2012
Bennell appeared set to earn a new contract with the club before the indiscretion after playing five games in his first season at Melbourne.
Injuries kept him to just two games in a four-year stint at Fremantle and he departed the Dockers in July 2019.
Melbourne acknowledged Bennell’s retirement, posting on social media: ‘Wishing you all the best for the future, Harley’.
Bennell played his best football at the Suns, enjoying a breakout season in 2012 when he finished second in the club’s best-and-fairest behind Gary Ablett Jnr.
Disciplinary issues saw him fall out-of-favour at Gold Coast and he was traded to Fremantle at the end of the 2015 season.
Bennell (pictured with girlfriend Amy Crellin) announced his retirement on Monday in the wake of his COVID breach
Source: Daily Mail AU