It’s been three weeks since Gold Coast Suns midfielder Harley Bennell awoke to find photos he’d rather forget printed on the front page of the Herald Sun.
“It didn’t hit me until about a week later,” Bennell told The Footy Show‘s Damian Barrett in one of his first interviews since being suspended by the Gold Coast.
“I didn’t know what to do, but I had to put my hand up. I put myself in that position… so I had to take responsibility for my actions. I’m really sorry.”
The 22-year-old said the hardest part was knowing the toll it would take on his family.
“I couldn’t sleep at night. I worried about my family more than anything – my mother, and my four brothers and four sisters [and] what they had to cop back home.”
Bennell denied he ever had a drug problem, saying he “just made some poor choices… I put my hand up and take full responsibility for those choices.”
Throughout the saga, Bennell has been well-supported by teammates.
“They’ll always have my back and I’ll always have theirs,” Bennell said.
“I’ve had some ups and downs – some hiccoughs on the way. I’m ready to repay the football club for sticking by me. I want to put my head down, bum up, work hard and not worry about talent. Everyone says I’m talented but I want to work hard and show the football world what I’m really about.”