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Max Gawn makes eye-opening call amid AFL Hall of Fame debate around Ben Cousins

The Melbourne Demons captain has given his opinion on the tricky situation surrounding the West Coast champion.

Max Gawn and Ben Cousins.
Max Gawn has given his opinion on the Ben Cousins situation. Image: Getty

Melbourne Demons captain Max Gawn has weighed in on the debate surrounding Ben Cousins' eligibility for the AFL Hall of Fame, supporting the calls for his inclusion. Kane Cornes re-ignited the debate this week when he said "It's time" for Cousins to be elevated to the Hall.

The West Coast Eagles champion and former Brownlow Medallist has been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2013, but has been consistently overlooked due to his off-field behaviour and chequered past. But Gawn said on Wednesday morning that he believes enough time has passed for a re-think on Cousins' inclusion.

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"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' about football ability - he's a Brownlow Medallist and premiership captain."

Ben Cousins, pictured here at the Brownlow Medal ceremony in 2023.
Ben Cousins at the Brownlow Medal ceremony in 2023. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images) (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Cousins is attempting to get his life back on track after a staggering fall from grace since his retirement from the AFL in 2010. 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.

Gary Ablett Sr - another controversial figure in the footy world - had to wait a number of years before he was finally inducted in 2005. And Wayne Carey was overlooked twice before getting his nod in 2010.

“It’s time," Cornes said on SEN radio on Monday. "There are others in the Hall of Fame who have had chequered history and it's time."

Speaking last year, West Coast great Glen Jakovich praised Cousins for turning his life around, expressing hope 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."

Last year Cousins attended his first Brownlow Medal ceremony in Melbourne since 2005 alongside his sister Melanie. When asked how he's been going, the 45-year-old said: "Really well actually. Life’s good. It’s been a long road, it really has. I wish it hadn’t needed to run its course like it did, but life’s great at the moment. When you strip everything back and assess your life, for anybody, it really is in its simplest form, goes back to what makes you happy and for a long time I wasn’t. But, you know, I very much am these days.”

Max Gawn on Clayton Oliver and player weights

Also on Wednesday, Gawn provided a small update on Clayton Oliver, while agreeing with the decision from the 'AFL Season Guide' publication to do away with publishing player weights. Oliver has taken a leave of absence from the Demons for personal reasons.

“He’s had his challenges, especially over the last couple of weeks," Gawn said. "We all just want the best version of Clayton possible. Right now it’s in other people’s hands. Hopefully we get him back soon.”

Max Gawn and Clayton Oliver, pictured here at a Melbourne Demons training session.
Max Gawn and Clayton Oliver at a Melbourne Demons training session. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images) (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Last week Cornes blasted the move to stop publishing player weights as "soft", but Gawn disagrees. The Demons captain said he doesn't even think they're accurate considering his hasn't changed in the Season Guide for 10 years.

"There’s no need in the first place," he said. “We don’t stand on the scales every year for the AFL, so there’s no point of it.

"I don’t think Goody (coach Simon Goodwin] would even know what weight I am or what my skin-folds are. It doesn’t help. If I come back top-heavy, I will feel bad, and I’ll get through it with my dietician and the high-performance coach to get to peak performance...I don’t need to be laughed at.”

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