Ben Cousins responds to brutal Hall of Fame snub as AFL delivers telling response about his legacy

The former West Coast Eagles captain's Hall of Fame bid has been rejected.

Ex-West Coast Eagles captain Ben Cousins says he "totally understands" the AFL's decision to not induct him into the Hall of Fame despite being eligible to secure a place among the greats of the game. The AFL reportedly doesn't consider Cousins as a prospective member at the current time and reportedly won't in the years to come.

A report from The Age’s Jake Niall noted the 2005 Brownlow Medal winner will not be a part of the 2024 class and will likely not be considered anytime soon. "The committee has not seriously debated Cousins as a prospective member," the report states. It also makes note of Cousins' past as a factor for him not being considered.

Pictured Ben Cousins
Ben Cousins says he "totally understands" the decision of the AFL to not induct him into the AFL Hall of Fame. Image: Getty

His induction into the Hall of Fame has long been in question due to his off-field behaviour. Cousins played 238 games for West Coast but his off-field troubles cost him the captaincy in early 2006. After a Brownlow Medal in 2005 and a premiership in 2006, Cousins was sacked by the club after the 2007 season. He returned to the AFL in 2009 to play 32 games for Richmond before he retired 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 chequered past. However, in recent years he has worked hard to get his life back on track after a staggering fall from grace following his retirement. Cousins 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.


And Cousins told the Mix94.5 Breakfast show on Wednesday morning that it would be an honour to be inducted into the Hall of Fame but it isn't something he ever expects to happen. “I totally understand their decision," Cousins said. "I, like everybody else, will sit there and be looking forward to celebrate whoever gets in this year.

"That's just the way it is. I'm sure there's a number of things that come into play when making those tough decisions. I wouldn't like to be in their shoes and yeah, there's no, no ill will or animosity from my end."

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.

The move to not consider Cousins comes less than a week after Wayne Carey was blocked by the AFL from receiving legend status at the NSW Football Hall of Fame ceremony due to widespread controversy surrounding the announcement. His planned induction was set to take place on the same weekend the AFL honoured victims of gender-based violence.

Pictured Ben Cousins
The West Coast Eagles champion has been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2013.

Earlier this year Melbourne Demons captain Max Gawn called for Cousins' 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 have a place among the greats of the game. Both he and Gawn said enough time has passed to re-think his 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."