Ben Cousins

Date of Birth: 30/06/1978
Height: 179 cm (
Weight: 78 kg (
Guernsey: 32
Debut: 26/03/2009, Round 1, Carlton
Last Game: 29/08/2010, Round 22, Port Adelaide

Seasons: 2009-10
Total Games: 32
Total Goals: 12

Ben Cousins played 238 games with the West Coast Eagles where he was a great champion of the club and the game of AFL football. He was an outstanding player who achieved high honours with his club and the AFL competition. He was Captain of the West Coast for five seasons , four times club Best and Fairest , selected six times in the All Australian team and a Premiership player with West Coast. He won a Brownlow Medal and the Leigh Matthews Most Valuable Player award and represented Australia in International Rules series. After several fines and sanctions by the West Coast were unsuccessful in changing behaviour , Ben Cousins contract was terminated by West Coast on 16th October 2007 , for incidents of drug abuse, traffic violations attempting to avoid apprehension by the police and association with criminal elements . Subsequently on the 19th November 2007 he was suspended for one year by the AFL Commission for “ bringing the game into disrepute “. West Coast officials were reported to indicate that Ben would never play for their club again . AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said it would be “ very
difficult “ for Ben to return to the AFL.

In November 2008 , the AFL Commission cleared Ben Cousins to play AFL football in 2009. Ben had to submit to regular drug tests ,
including urine testing up to three times a week and hair testing up to four times annually. Several teams showed some interest in
recruiting Ben ,who would turn 31 years of age on the 30 th June 2009. Ben nominated for the 2008 AFL National Draft but on draft day 29th November 2008 he was not selected by any club.
Richmond approached the AFL Commission for approval to move injured senior player Graham Polak ( tram accident ) to it’s Rookie list in order to obtain a second draft pick in the 2009 Pre-season Draft . The AFL Commission had given approval to Essendon two years earlier to do a similar arrangement with Adam Ramanauskas during his battle with cancer. The AFL Commission denied Richmond’s request.
The question as to whether Richmond should draft Ben Cousins had developed into an intense discussion in the general football
community , but among Richmond supporters all caution had been cast aside and Richmond fans were in a frenzy – they wanted Ben drafted to Richmond.

Richmond drafted Ben with pick 6 overall in the 2009 AFL Pre-season Draft. Pre-season continued and Ben impressed the
Richmond players and Coaches with his football preparation , his football IQ and his willingness to help his teammates in development of their game. There was no expectation that Ben was going to be an ambassador for the Tigers in the community , he was there to play footy and help the team do better , although Ben couldn't control the spontaneous affection of the Tiger fans or the estimated 2000 fans who turned up to his first official training night . As the 2009 season approached , interest built on the season‘s opening match between Richmond and Carlton at the MCG on the 26 th March 2009 . In what was a significant loss for the Tigers, Ben played a modest game with 12 disposals and suffered a hamstring injury, while in another sub- plot his old Premiership teammate from West Coast Chris Judd , playing for Carlton had 23 disposals and a significant impact on the
game. Despite the result all eyes were on Ben throughout the game and critics were asking ‘ was he past it ‘ . But not the Richmond fans , they loved Ben in the Yellow and Black and would not be robbed of that moment of joy , they would analyse the result later.
An extract from an Article by Caroline Wilson in ‘ The Age ‘ , 26th March 2009 titled ‘ The man who sold out the MCG ‘
adds more commentary : “ The man who has single-handedly rewritten the script for the 2009 AFL season-opener , sold out the MCG on a school night , buried the Formula 1 Grand Prix and forced Ten Network ( TV ) tonight to ditch the Simpsons “
The crowd for the season opener was officially 87,039 and in the aftermath Ben was back to rehabilitating his hamstring injury , he
played a game with Richmond’s VFL Affiliate Coburg and returned to the senior team in Round 7 against Brisbane Lions.

In the 15 games Ben played in 2009 ( including his 12 disposals in Round 1 ) Ben averaged 23.8 disposals and finished 5th in the club Best and Fairest. Ben played 17 games in 2010 ( Damien Hardwick’s first year as Coach ) averaging 22 disposals . Despite more than holding his own on the field with a struggling Richmond team Ben announced his retirement from AFL football on the 17th August 2010 in front of his family and a huge crowd . In his speech Ben included these. comments “ I’ll always regret what I’ve put my family through . There ‘s a lot of shame and regret . People wonder why I haven't broken down or shed a tear ( in public ) . My tears are something that I hold close to me ; they’re for me and my family ."

The Ben Cousins Tiger adventure was over , and while it was fun while it lasted , many would wonder did it help Richmond who were trying to get up off the floor of the AFL competition, but whatever the answer to that , there is no doubt that Ben Cousins was one of the great AFL players of any era and he gave Tiger fans great joy seeing him in the Yellow and Black .

West Coast 1996-2007, Games 238, Goals 217 ( Honours - ).
Joined Richmond with Richmond's selection pick 6 in 2009 Pre-season Draft.


Bio by Leon Daphne