Hall of Fame calls for Ben Cousins after fallen AFL hero ‘magically’ returned in West Coast colors
A major West Coast AFL legend believes it’s time to end Ben Cousins’ unofficial ban from the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Cousins, a six-time All-Australian and 2005 Brownlow medalist, was back in the West Coast colors on Sunday, playing in a Legends game ahead of the Eagles’ clash with the GWS Giants at Optus Stadium.
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The 44-year-old is slowly putting his life together after a long and public battle with a drug addiction that began while he was still playing.
And the Legends game marked the first time he’d been spotted in an Eagles jumper since 2007; 5,679 days since the last game for West Coast, Cousins was back and he was enjoying it immensely.
Cousins played alongside former team-mates and 2006 Premiership heroes Darren Glass and Drew Banfield. His nine-year-old daughter (Angelique), 11-year-old son (Bobby) and 17-year-old stepson (Alex) also participated in the field.
“It’s good to see some old familiar faces and have fun and see all the kids enjoying themselves,” Cousins told the West Australian after the game.
“It’s the first opportunity I’ve had to get a kick at Optus Stadium and it’s magical.
“It [West Coast] was such a big part of my life and at certain times i was a little bit distant [but] it has always held a special place in my heart. It’s fantastic to be back with some of the guys I’ve played with.”
Cousins was suspended from West Coast in 2007 when they discovered he had a substance abuse problem. He returned that year but was later fired when he was arrested for drug possession.
He sat out the 2008 season but was allowed to return to the AFL and was signed by Richmond for the 2009 season.
Professional football ended for Cousins in late 2010 and his life spiraled out of control. Stays in and out of prison followed.
But he has now cleaned up his act and is rebuilding his life.
West Coast legend Glen Jakovich spoke to News Corp about a recent conversation with cousins.
And Jakovich wondered when was the right time for Cousins to be welcomed back into the AFL family and actually be recognized for his actions on the field.
“West Coast just had a Hall of Fame event that he didn’t do. They wanted to wait another 12 months. So if not this year, then next year from an AFL perspective,” Jakovich said.
“He had a damn good 18 months. He works for Channel 7, he works for a mining company and he goes to a lot of mining sites and talks to them and basically says don’t end up like me. His greatest commitment is to his children. He has gone from no access to good access and has had to check boxes with the authorities. So that’s a really big catch for ‘Cuz’.”
Disgraced players usually have to wait before being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
He has been waiting for Cousins since 2013, the year he became eligible to play.
“He’s without a doubt a Hall of Famer. His record stands for itself… head and shoulders above all others. But with that comes a responsibility, and public expectation of behavior is paramount,” Jakovich said.
“So in the end, it’s not about the Hall of Fame, it’s about him living a good, healthy life and being there for his kids… All credit to him. He did it alone.”
https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/hall-of-fame-calls-for-ben-cousins-after-fallen-afl-hero-makes-magic-return-in-west-coast-colours-c-10188759 Hall of Fame calls for Ben Cousins after fallen AFL hero ‘magically’ returned in West Coast colors