Ben Cousins has dedicated to enjoying out the season – plus finals – with his new park footy staff, the membership president says.
Cousins, who received a Brownlow Medal and AFL premiership earlier than falling sufferer to drug habit, performed his debut match for Queens Park Bulldogs in Perth’s Metro Football League on Sunday.
The former Wests Coast Eagles megastar, 42, booted a purpose and drew an enormous crowd in his first recreation since his 2010 retirement. Apparently it will not be a one-off.
“We normally get probably 150 on the Sunday afternoon and there was probably over 1000 there, so there was a lot of interest in the whole thing,” Bulldogs president Ross White advised SEN radio in Western Australia.
“He’s keen to play the season out. One thing I heard him say early in the pre-season, he said, ‘Look, I’m 42, I’ve probably only got 10 games left in me, I’m not going to waste any games with pre-season et cetera.
“I’m positive we will get 10 or 12 video games out of him and we’ll get to play finals and I’m positive he’d love to do this as properly.”
White revealed that Cousins had first met the club’s coach away from football and expressed an interest in playing again.
“That all got here out of Ben’s final jail stint. There was speak late in the season, simply at household get-togethers, speaking footy, and Ben expressed an curiosity earlier than Christmas about wanting to have a little bit of a kick this 12 months,” White said.
“He stated, ‘I’ll come down and play with you guys’. Pre-season began late January and he was one of many first on the monitor that first evening and has been closely concerned ever since. He selected us, we did not select him.”
White said that seeing Cousins appear for his first training session was a strange moment. Far from the disheveled figure seen on the news in recent years, Cousins turned up ready to go.
“The first evening he rocked up was a Wednesday evening and each picture I’d seen of him over the previous 18 months was Grizzly Adams; scruffy beard, scruffy hair,” he said.
“Then this man’s strolling throughout the paddock, simply in his sneakers, black T-shirt and that, and he had this cropped hair … and I all of a sudden realised it was Ben Cousins. It was the look of how he performed 15 years in the past.
“He’s made a dramatic change since he got out in September, October last year. He just came down, he must have been doing lots of work anyway and he was fairly fit when he got there, and just continued to train well and train hard, even though he is 42 now.”
White stated that the overwhelmed opposition facet, Koongamia, had additionally loved having Cousins on the sphere. The AFL great had a belated begin to the season due to an ankle damage.
“Everyone likes to play against an AFL star and a Brownlow Medallist, so I’m sure there was great respect out there,” he stated.
“They were tackling hard but it was just part of the game. It was massive respect.
“It’s good for our membership. We’re only a small-time membership and 90 per cent of our gamers are Indigenous and at instances, folks in the previous have probably not been that in us and we wrestle with completely different points in making an attempt to get assist and various things.
“So Ben coming along this year has generated a lot of interest over the last two or three months. Canteen sales were massive and just the atmosphere at the ground. There’s normally 150 people there on a Sunday and to have that gigantic crowd, it’s just like chalk and cheese. Very good.”
Cousins has lived a tumultuous life since exiting the AFL, with drug habit and private issues ongoing.
He was launched from Hakea Prison in December, having served a seven-month sentence for stalking the mom of his youngsters, Maylea Tinecheff.
He pleaded responsible in April and obtained a $1500 superb after police discovered him in possession of two.5g of methamphetamine, sleeping subsequent to his automobile in East Victoria Park.
Cousins performed 270 AFL video games, for West Coast and Richmond, booting 217 targets. He was a six-time All Australian and a four-time membership champion for the Eagles.
Cousins participated in a documentary – Ben Cousins: Coming Clean – this 12 months in which he apologised for damaging the West Coast membership with his rampant drug use. He was banned from the AFL for 12 months after being sacked by the Eagles, earlier than returning with the Tigers for 2 seasons.
“Oh, I am sorry, I am remorseful,” Cousins stated. “And the fallout from that has been pretty significant on the club.
“So, it has taken some time since that point for the membership to discover itself again in a place like it’s at present.”
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