K rock Football

Bennett boost for Corio

Joel Bennett in action during 2017 for Geelong West. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

JOEL Bennett is set to become one of the youngest coaches in the history of local football in Geelong when he shares the role at Corio with dad Darren in 2020.

In a massive boost for the struggling Devils, the 22-year-old has decided to pull the pin a promising VFL career to return to his home club.

“Stepping away from VFL footy wasn’t an easy decision, and one that took a long time to come to,” Joel told krockfootball.com.au.

“But, I feel that for me it’s just what’s best.”

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Bennett, who return to Viva Energy Oval with brother Toby, debuted for the Devils as a 15-year-old in 2012 and won the GDFL Rookie of the Year award in 2014, the last year he pulled on the red and white.

He then spent two years with the Geelong Falcons followed by a season as a development player with Geelong’s VFL squad while also playing with Geelong West in the GFL.

Bennett joined Werribee ahead of the 2018 season, playing 21 games and kicking 30 goals across two seasons.

He kicked five goals in the Tigers’ win over Port Melbourne in Round 16 and three majors in the elimination final victory against Box Hill Hawks.

“I’ve had a good crack at it for five years, but with work and life going on around footy, I can’t fully commit to the program anymore,” Bennett said.

“I’ve always had an interest and wanted to get into coaching, and what better place to do it than at my home club and coach with my old man.

“I’m pretty excited to run around with my brother again at senior level, too.

“We’re all looking forward to the challenge of getting our club back to where it needs to be.”

Corio co-coach Darren Bennett in 2018. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

It has been a challenging period for Corio, which hasn’t played finals in more than a decade and went winless through both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

However, Darren Bennett has committed to staying the course in rebuilding the Devils and says getting Joel and Toby home is a crucial step in that.

“It’s great from a club point-of-view to have the boys back at Corio where they grew up,” he said.

“Hopefully it’s the start of a bright future for our club.”

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