Ben Cousins lands coaching role in latest return to footy world

Fallen AFL champion Ben Cousins has been trying to turn his life around after a staggering fall from grace.

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

Ben Cousins has made his latest return to the football world in a part-time coaching role with WAFL side Perth Demons. The former AFL champion experienced a staggering fall from grace in the years since his retirement and was convicted of stalking his ex-partner in November last year, spending more than six months in jail.

The former West Eagles captain has battled a well-documented drug addiction and spent numerous stints behind bars - a stark decline after he was one of the AFL's top midfielders and played a crucial role in the club's 2006 premiership victory.

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However Cousins has been striving to get his life back on track in the last 12 months and has now made a return to footy in the coaching ranks. According to The West Australian, Cousins has been working once-a-week role with the Perth Demons, with the role set to continue next year.

The former Brownlow Medallist's father Bryan played 240 games for the club in the 1970s and 80s. Cousins has joined former West Coast hero and 2014 Brownlow Medal winner Matt Priddis, who is the midfield coach at the club.

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

Last year he made his return to the footy field for Queens Park in the Perth Metro Football League and captained one of the teams in the Footy for Life charity match in January to help raise awareness for mental health. It was the first time Cousins captained a footy side since the 2005 grand final with West Coast.

Fans had differing reactions to learning of Cousins' return with Perth Demons. While the majority were happy to hear he's getting his life back on track, others questioned why he has received so many chances.

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Ben Cousins opens up on drug addiction

Last month Cousins said he was "kidding himself" into thinking he was okay during some of the darkest moments of his spiral. He said: “It just gets back to being happy and for a long time, I hadn’t been and I had those fleeting moments where I thought I was kidding myself just to try and get by.

“It’s been a big struggle but today I sit here and it’s not in any way about the things I’ve given up or had to give up or sacrifice, it’s all about things I can give back.”

At the end of 2021 he attended the Brownlow Medal ceremony for the first time in 11 years, looking happy and healthy alongside friend Kellye Fergus. When asked at the 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."

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)

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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