West Coast defender Jamie Bennell can’t help but feel sorry for Melbourne – even though he was axed by them two years ago.
Bennell played 57 games over four years at the Demons before being cut loose at the end of 2012 while nursing a serious knee injury.
West Coast handed Bennell a rookie lifeline last year, and the speedy defender is desperate to repay the club’s faith.
Bennell performed admirably in last week’s 65-point win over the Western Bulldogs, and he’s ready to confront his former teammates in Sunday’s clash with the Demons at the MCG.
Melbourne have endured years of pain both on and off the field.
Hopes are high that new coach Paul Roos can turn around their fortunes, but his tenure started with a 17-point loss to St Kilda.
Bennell, who hails from Bunbury, is thrilled to be back in Western Australia and playing at the club he supported as a kid.
But he still has a soft spot for the Demons.
“I did spend some hard times over there with them, so I still feel for them a little bit,” Bennell said on Monday.
“But hopefully they have moved on from that.
“I’ve moved on. I am a West Coast Eagles player now and I am loving every minute playing over here.”
Bennell was trialled in a variety of positions during his time at the Demons, but new Eagles coach Adam Simpson wants him to play primarily in defence.
“It’s nice coming over here and knowing what my job is; so I can focus and get the job done,” Bennell said.
Although he had already played 57 games before making his Eagles debut, Bennell said it was a moment he would never forget.
And wearing the No.44 that club legend David Wirrpanda made famous was even more special.
“I took the moment in, had a look at the jumper before I put it on and really soaked it up when I was out there,” Bennell said.
“It was almost like a first game again.”