AFL world erupts over Ben Cousins appearance in new TV role

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Ben Cousins, pictured here on 7News in Perth.
Ben Cousins has made his return to TV on 7News in Perth. Image: Getty/Channel 7

Fallen AFL champion Ben Cousins has impressed fans in a new TV gig on 7News Perth as he continues to attempt to distance himself from his troubled past.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Cousins would feature in a weekly segment on 7News in Perth in which he provides expert analysis and previews the upcoming round of AFL games.

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The former West Coast Eagles captain appeared in the segment alongside Adrian Barich on Thursday, giving his tips and predictions for Round 19's action.

“I think West Coast can and will win against St Kilda this weekend,” he said.

Ben Cousins and Adrian Barich, pictured here on 7News in Perth.
Ben Cousins and Adrian Barich on 7News in Perth. Image: Channel 7

“It’d be great to see the boys have a win this week.”

One social media user asked Barich on Twitter: “Was Ben reading off autocue? As that was a pretty impressive delivery of all those stats if he wasn’t.”

Barich responded: “Off the cuff. I was reading though.”

Another fan commented: “Great to see Ben doing and looking well.”

While a third commented: “So good to see Ben healthy and talking footy again."

However the appearance has sparked a divided reaction, with some questioning the ethics of handing Cousins the TV gig considering his troubled past.

Ben Cousins on road to redemption?

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

The former premiership winner 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.

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.

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

Last year he made his return to the footy field for Queens Park in the Perth Metro Football League, before captaining his side in a Footy for Life charity match in January to help raise awareness for mental health.

Ben Cousins, pictured here at the 2021 AFL Brownlow Medal ceremony in Perth.
Ben Cousins at the 2021 AFL Brownlow Medal ceremony in Perth. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

It was the first time Cousins captained a footy side since the 2005 AFL grand final with West Coast.

He also attended the Brownlow Medal ceremony for the first time in 11 years at the end of the 2021 season, looking happy and healthy alongside friend Kellye Fergus.

When asked at the ceremony in September 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."

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