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AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has confirmed former Brownlow Medal winner Ben Cousins will attend Sunday night's award ceremony in Perth.
The former West Coast Eagles star set the football world alight last week when it was revealed the 2005 winner had been invited to attend the event.
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Cousins has long battled drug issues that date back to the final years of his playing career in 2007, culminating in him being handed a 12-month prison sentence in 2017 over charges of drug possession and aggravated stalking.
After his release, Cousins was briefly employed by his former club in 2018 as part of his release conditions, but he left his position there later that year and was later charged in April 2020 with aggravated stalking and 20 counts of breaching a violence restraining order.
He was held in remand until November last year, when he was released on parole by a Perth magistrate, who found him not guilty of the VRO breaches.
Cousins has maintained a low profile since, playing local football and making but one public appearance at a West Coast Eagles game.
With many previous Brownlow Medal winners unable to attend this year's ceremony in Perth due to travel restrictions, Cousins is one of a handful of former winner to still be based in WA who are slated to attend.
“I saw a list yesterday and he was going,” McLachlan said, when asked about a potential Cousins appearance.
“He has been invited every year and for various reasons it’s not been something he has been able to do but I gather he’s in pretty good health and he’s coming. He has accepted, I understand.”
AFL fans were divided over the re-appearance of Cousins, with many suggesting the former premiership star had been given plenty of chances to turn over a new leaf.
AFL to welcome Ben Cousins at Brownlow Medal despite troubled past
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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