'This is awesome': AFL fans erupt over massive Ben Cousins news

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Ben Cousins, pictured here at the 2021 Brownlow Medal ceremony.
Ben Cousins at the 2021 Brownlow Medal ceremony. Image: Getty

Ben Cousins is set to captain a footy side for the first time in 16 years in another positive step in the fallen AFL star's redemption story.

According to the West Australian, Cousins will captain the Crusaders on January 22 in a Footy for Life charity match to help raise awareness for mental health.

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He will line up against former Fremantle and Brisbane player Des Headland, who will captain the Spartans team in an ex-AFL All Stars match.

It will be the first time Cousins has captained a footy side since the 2005 AFL grand final with the West Coast Eagles.

The Footy for Life charity day will take place at Perth's Leederville Oval, supporting Lifeline and the Happiness Co Foundation.

Cousins has endured a stunning fall from grace in the years since he retired and was convicted of stalking his ex-partner in November last year, spending more than six months in jail.

The former West Coast captain has battled a well-documented drug addiction and spent numerous stints behind bars.

He was once one of the AFL's top midfielders and played a crucial role in the Eagles' 2006 premiership victory.

Ben Cousins, pictured here in action for the Queens Park Bulldogs in the Metro Football League in Perth.
Ben Cousins in action for the Queens Park Bulldogs in the Metro Football League in Perth. (Photo by Faith Moran/GC Images)

However his off-field troubles cost him the West Coast captaincy in early 2006 and he was sacked by the club after the 2007 season.

Fans were happy to hear that Cousins has taken another positive step in his journey to rebuild his life and reputation.

"This is awesome," one supporter wrote on Facebook.

Another wrote: "This makes me so happy. There’s always a way back, Benny."

While a third added: "Great to see him well on the way to recovery. Addiction is a living nightmare."

Ben Cousins on the path to redemption?

Cousins played 238 games for the Eagles and returned in 2009 to play 32 games for Richmond before he retired at the end of 2010.

Earlier this year he made his return to the footy field for Queens Park in the Perth Metro Football League.

He then attended the Brownlow Medal ceremony for the first time in 11 years, looking happy and healthy alongside friend Kellye Fergus.

When asked at the September ceremony if he was back on the right path, Cousins replied: "Yeah absolutely."

"It's definitely a big night. It's been a while since I've been to one of the football industry nights. So I'm looking forward to it."

Cousins was asked how much work it took for him to attend the Brownlow and who helped him.

"(There's been) a little bit behind the scenes, but that's part of it," he said.

"You find yourselves in different situations along the way. It's just great to be here tonight.

"There's been plenty of people. I won't go into it tonight.

"I'm just very fortunate that I've got the opportunity to come to one of football's great nights."

with AAP

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