Someone tell Chief!
Former West Coast skipper Ben Cousins will make a brief playing return next year when he fronts up for the Mullewa Saints in Western Australia’s Great Northern Football League.
Cousins has agreed to play two games for the Saints, but club president Brett Del Nero hopes the 2005 Brownlow Medallist will end up playing more.
The 34-year-old notched 238 games for West Coast and a further 32 for Richmond during a decorated but controversial AFL career.
Cousins was sacked by West Coast at the end of 2007 after his methamphetamine addiction spiralled out of control.
The West Australian made a successful AFL return in 2009 with Richmond, before retiring in 2010.
Del Nero said it wasn’t hard to convince Cousins to play for Mullewa, which is located 450km North of Perth.
“But we also had to take into consideration the commitments he’s got,” Del Nero told ABC radio.
“He’s got a young family and other commitments to different groups.
“He’s very approachable and very well respected within our community.”
As well as turning out for a couple of games, Cousins will also conduct training sessions with fellow ex-Eagle Travis Gaspar.
The pair, who have joined forces previously to conduct clinics at schools in the area, will also provide life coaching to the players.
And in an added bonus to Mullewa, Del Nero said Cousins has offered to redirect his match payments to the club’s academy.
Del Nero said the news of Cousins’ arrival next year had already inspired the club’s players to improve.
“I even had some players talk about doing a pre-season this year, which is unusual,” Del Nero joked.
“That’s Ben Cousins, and that’s what he brings to football. I think it’s great.”
Life after AFL hasn’t been smooth for Cousins, who earlier this year was committed to a mental health hospital as a result of prolonged psychosis related to his battle with drugs.