For the first time in more than a decade, Ben Cousins will attend a Brownlow Medal ceremony in Melbourne — in a major step forward for the former Eagle.
Speaking to The Australian on Monday, the 2005 Brownlow Medallist, will be in the room when this year’s best and fairest AFL player is crowned on Monday night at Crown.
For Cousins and his rocky past, it marks a big step in his return, Perth Now reports.
The 45-year-old’s big comeback on Monday night comes after he took up the job to read the morning sports bulletin on 7News in Perth, with colleagues describing him as “keen to learn”.
And all his new teammates agree the reason he won’t reoffend is his children, who he sees regularly.
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“I’m somebody that hasn’t been given a second chance,” he said.
“I’ve been given a third, fourth and fifth for whatever reason. But that’s what it’s taken.
“I want to make sure that other people in that sort of position are going to get the same understanding I do and the same help along the way I did.”
While Cousins attended the 2021 Brownlow, hosted in Perth, this year marks the first time since he won the prestigious award in 2005 that he’s returned to the sporting capital of Australia for the ceremony.
The former Eagles superstar said football had been a “constant” in his turbulent life.
“I know I’m starting from a long way back but I needed to feel like I was making a contribution,” he said.
“Once I was released, I wasn’t quite at the stage where I felt I was in a position to get back into full-time work so I connected with a community football club, just training a couple times a week over the summer. It was one I hadn’t had any involvement with prior so I didn’t know anybody at that stage.
“I was out of my comfort zone and getting to meet new people. It was football for me that was a constant. I enjoy having a kick and it was that which got me back involved in the community. It played a really important part in my recovery.”
It’s another positive move in the life of the former AFL superstar as he continues to rebuild his life.
Cousins had a troubled end to his football career, resigning his captaincy at West Coast in 2006 after fleeing an RBT before it was revealed he had a substance abuse problem.
Cousins spent time in rehab in the same year before he was arrested for drug possession the following year.
He was delisted and banned from the AFL for 12 months, ending his time at West Coast after a Brownlow Medal in 2005, the 2006 premiership, six All-Australian selections and 238 games.
In 2009, Cousins did return to the AFL, playing the final two seasons of his career at Richmond.
After his career, Cousins’ life spiralled out of control, leading to a public battle with drugs and legal issues, including serving a 12-month prison sentence in 2017 for stalking the mother of his children Maylea Tinecheff.
But in more recent times, Cousins appeared fit and healthy. He has also been open about his recovery from drug addiction.
Cousins also returned to the Eagles for the first time in 16 years in March, playing in an exhibition legend’s game at Optus Stadium before the Eagles’ clash with GWS in round two.
— This story originally appeared on perthnow.com.au and has been republished with permission