A recent stint in jail set up an incredible Aussie Rules comeback for Ben Cousins, who wowed footy fans by playing his first competitive match in a decade over the weekend.
The 42-year-old turned out for the Queens Park Bulldogs in the Perth Metro Football League over the weekend, with his new club president explaining how the exciting new partnership between club and player unfolded.
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The former Brownlow Medallist appeared toe be in good physical shape as he helped the Bulldogs to a 40-point win over Koongamia.
Cousins reportedly kicked a goal in the third quarter and was loudly cheered by those in attendance.
Queens Park president Ross White indicated that it was only the beginning for Cousins, with the club hoping to get at least 10 more games out of the former Brownlow Medallist and premiership-winning West Coast Eagles legend.
White says the involvement of Cousins - who hadn't played a competitive game of footy since retiring from the AFL in 2010 - came about through a connection of the coach.
“Our league coach had met Ben through family connections and that all came out of Ben’s last jail stint,” White said on SEN WA’s Gilly and Goss.
“Ben expressed an interest before Christmas about wanting to have a bit of a kick this year and he said he would come down and have a kick with us.
“Pre-season started late January and he was one of the first on the track on that first night and has been involved ever since. He chose us, we didn’t choose him.
“He’s keen to play the season out. I heard him say earlier in the pre-season, I’m sure we’ll get 10 or 12 games out of him.”
Cousins has rarely been seen in public since he was released from jail in December after being convicted of stalking his ex-partner.
Unsurprisingly, his presence at the footy match drew a sizeable crowd, with White suggesting more than 1000 people turned out to watch Cousins get the win.
“We normally get 150 on a Sunday afternoon and there was probably over 1000 there, so there was a lot of interest in the whole thing,” White added.
“90 per cent of our players are Indigenous, at times people in the past have not really been interested in us, and we struggle with different issues and trying to get support and so Ben coming along this year has generated a lot of interest over the last few months.
“Canteen sales were massive, to have that gigantic crowd, it was like chalk and cheese.”
AFL great's chequered history
Cousins was convicted of stalking his ex-partner but acquitted by a Perth court of restraining order breaches last November.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges, including 20 counts of breaching a family violence restraining order relating to his ex-partner, Maylea Tinecheff, in April 2020.
The former West Coast Eagles captain spent more than six months behind bars before facing a two-day trial in Armadale Magistrates Court.
Magistrate Brian Mahon sentenced Cousins to seven months in prison but backdated it to his April 22 arrest.
Cousins has previously served almost a year behind bars for stalking Ms Tinecheff.
The 42-year-old has had well-documented issues with meth addiction and 22 convictions for VRO breaches - 20 of which resulted in a prison sentence.
The Brownlow Medal winner and six-time All Australian played 238 games for West Coast before he was axed in 2007 after he was arrested on drug-related charges.
He was banned by the AFL for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute soon after he was dumped by the Eagles.
He went on to play 32 games in two years at Richmond before retiring at the age of 32 at the end of the 2010 season.
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