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AFL has have been left divided after it emerged Ben Cousins has been invited to the Brownlow Medal ceremony.
The West Australian reported on Thursday that disgraced former West Coast player Cousins has been invited to attend the Brownlow Medal count at Optus Stadium.
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"Ben Cousins’ redemption story could take another gigantic public step on Sunday night," the publication wrote.
With the AFL grand final and Brownlow Medal ceremony being held in Perth due to Covid restrictions in Melbourne, a number of high-profile West Australians have been invited to the prestigious awards night to recognise the league's best player.
Cousins won the Brownlow medal in 2005 and led the Eagles to premiership glory in 2006.
However the 43-year-old has suffered a stunning fall from grace since his retirement and has had a number of stints in jail.
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 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 43-year-old has had well-documented issues with meth addiction and 22 convictions for VRO breaches - 20 of which resulted in a prison sentence.
News of his invite to the Brownlow heavily divided AFL fans on social media.
Yeah, nah, heard it all before and before that even
— Cropsprayer O'virus (@ian_34South) September 15, 2021
Great to see ben doing well
— cb (@rennegadeone) September 15, 2021
And so he should. Legend of the game
— johno (@Westozy) September 15, 2021
Ben is an addict - but has been given an endless free pass in his tale of self destruction because he can kick a ball and is an all round "good bloke"
— N Evil Le (@NevilleRutter) September 15, 2021
Ben Cousins' return to public eye after fall from grace
The 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 for Richmond, featuring in 32 games in two years before retiring at the age of 32 at the end of the 2010 season.
Cousins looked happy and healthy earlier this year as he posed for photos with fans at a West Coast game in a rare public appearance.
He also laced up the boots for the first time in 10 years, turning out for the Queens Park Bulldogs in the Perth Metro Football League.
“The best thing about him is just the way he interacts with his teammates, opposition players,” club president Ross White said.
“He cares about people and always gives his time just to talk and have photos.
“The sort of old Ben who cared about supporters is still that - and now it’s our supporters. They just love him.”
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