Eagle rookie returns after jail stint

West Coast rookie Murray Newman has the chance to revive his AFL career after being released from prison.


Newman returned to club headquarters on Thursday after serving a six-month sentence for fracturing the jaw of a man who had sex with his girlfriend.

The 20-year-old midfielder was granted parole late last month, and was released from the Wandoo Reintegration Facility on Thursday morning.

West Coast have indicated they will keep Newman on their rookie list as long as the former first-round selection meets strict protocols.

“He will not immediately slip back into full-scale training, rather he will gradually rejoin teammates in skill drills,” West Coast wrote on their website.

“While he has been working to a club-issued conditioning program, he has had limited opportunity for exposure to football skills.

“Murray will have some very strict guidelines to follow over the next six months and, as part of those conditions, the club hopes his privacy will be respected.”

Newman played four games for the Eagles in 2012.

But his career was in limbo after breaking the jaw of Brett Marris at a Perth nightclub in November 2012.

Newman was handed a one-year prison sentence in March, but The Prisoners Review Board granted him parole late last month after noting his willingness to address his problems.

Meanwhile, West Coast have re-signed defender Jamie Bennell and forward Josh Hill.

Bennell, who played 57 games for the Demons before switching to West Coast via the 2013 rookie draft, has signed on for the next two years.

The 24-year-old made 19 appearances for the Eagles this season in his first full year back from a knee reconstruction.

“I am really grateful to the club for giving me a second chance,” Bennell said.

“Until they contacted me a couple of years ago, I thought my AFL career was over.”

Hill’s future looked bleak after he made just four underwhelming appearances during the opening 18 rounds this season.

But the former Bulldog impressed during the latter stages of the campaign to earn a new one-year deal.

“This season we certainly improved and I want to be a part of what we are building towards,” Hill said.

“All the boys are driven to succeed and we are keen to drive each other to get there.”

West Coast finished ninth with an 11-11 record this season under rookie coach Adam Simpson.