AFL issues telling response as calls grow louder for Ben Cousins to enter Hall of Fame

The AFL says they have noticed Ben Cousins has turned his life around and hinted an induction could be coming.

The AFL has revealed ex-West Coast Eagles star Ben Cousins' off-field scandals haven't ruled him out of the Australian Football Hall of Fame. The league recently gave the biggest indication yet that Cousins could be inducted into the Hall of Fame, saying it may happen "in due course".

After a Brownlow Medal in 2005 and a premiership in 2006, Cousins endured a difficult last few years in the AFL before retiring in controversial circumstances at the end of 2010. The West Coast Eagles champion has been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2013 but has been consistently overlooked due to his off-field behaviour and chequered past.

Pictured Ben Cousins
The AFL says Ben Cousins' induction into the Hall of Fame may come "in due course". Image: Getty

Since then Cousins has worked hard to get his life back on track after a staggering fall from grace following his retirement. He has battled a well-documented drug addiction and spent time behind bars, which go against some of the criteria to enter the Hall of Fame around integrity, sportsmanship and character.

Typically, players who are Hall of Fame candidates but have found themselves embroiled in controversy after their AFL careers, are made to wait before their induction. Gary Ablett Sr - another controversial figure in the footy world - had to wait several years before he was finally inducted in 2005. And Wayne Carey was overlooked twice before getting the nod in 2010.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Ben Cousins of the Eagles poses with the 2005 Brownlow Medal after being announced as the winner during the West Coast Eagles Brownlow Medal Dinner at the Burswood Casino September 19, 2005 in Perth, Australia.(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
After a Brownlow Medal in 2005 and a premiership in 2006, Ben Cousins retired in controversial circumstances at the end of 2010.

Speaking last year, West Coast great Glen Jakovich praised Cousins for turning his life around and said he hopes that he'll be included in the Hall sometime soon. “He has had a bloody good 18 months," he said.

"He works for Channel 7, he works for a mining company and he goes to a lot of mining sites and speaks to them and basically says don’t end up like me. His biggest commitment is to his kids. He has gone from no access to good access and has had to tick boxes with the authorities. So that is a really big tick for ‘Cuz’ off the field and it’s time."

AFL commission chair responds to Ben Cousins call

After announcing former Hawthorn full-forward Jason Dunstall would be elevated to legend status this year, AFL commission chair Richard Goyder was quizzed on whether Cousins would soon join him in the Hall of Fame. To which he said it could be coming “in due course”.

"I won’t talk about Hall of Fame. I will say it’s a joy to see Ben in the shape he’s in right now, and I’ve seen a fair bit of him in the west,” Goyder said. "I think (Cousins’ recovery story) is fantastic ... what I would say with Hall of Fame, and it’s almost my precursor to our committee discussions each year, is it’s not who’s in, it’s who’s not in. It’s an incredibly high bar to be a Hall of Famer in the AFL, and it’s even higher to be a Legend, so we’ll look at those things in due course."


Max Gawn believes Ben Cousins should be in AFL Hall of Fame

Earlier this year Melbourne Demons captain Max Gawn called for his inclusion into the Hall of Fame. His comments came after Kane Cornes re-ignited the debate in January when he declared "It's time" for Cousins to be elevated to the Hall. And Gawn agreed saying he believes enough time has passed for a re-think on Cousins' inclusion.

"I agree with Kane," Gawn said on 'The Marty Sheargold Show' on Triple M radio. "He was my favourite player growing up. He was my password for everything (at the time). As a footballer - and that's what the AFL Hall of Game is, it's about football ability - he's a Brownlow Medallist and premiership captain."