The Fremantle Dockers have confirmed injured recruit Harley Bennell was asked to leave a Virgin flight after attendants considered him too drunk to fly.
Bennell, 24, told club officials he had consumed alcohol the day before his flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast on Saturday, as well as on his first flight to Melbourne.
Upon arriving in Melbourne for his trip back to the Gold Coast, he consumed alcohol at an airport cafe, and was then asked to disembark his flight by Virgin staff, who believed he was intoxicated.
Bennell, who has yet to play for Fremantle in more than a year since signing from the Gold Coast Suns due to a series of calf injuries, cooperated with airline staff and was escorted back to the passengers’ lounge.
“Due to a recurring injury problem which has prevented him from playing all of last year and now for the next eight to 10 weeks following another setback last week, Harley has been dealing with the frustration and disappointment of not being able to play AFL football,” Fremantle general manager of football Chris Bond said in a club statement.
“We are disappointed that Harley consumed alcohol to the extent that airline staff felt he was unfit to take the flight.
“Steve Rosich and I have been in regular contact yesterday and today with Harley, who will continue to assist Virgin and the AFL with any other enquiries they have.
“In the meantime, as a club it is important that we continue to support and provide guidance to Harley on how best to cope with the frustration and disappointment of not playing football.”