Ben Cousins has taken another step in his redemption story, reportedly accepting an AFL invitation to attend Sunday’s Brownlow Medal count in Perth.
According to a report from The Age, the league is “hopeful” that the 2005 Brownlow winner will be attendance at the same venue in Perth from which AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan will read the votes.
Cousins’ fall from grace since winning the 2005 Brownlow and a premiership the following year have been well documented, but the 43-year-old has seemingly turned a corner of late.
After bouncing in and out of prison since his retirement, Cousins returned to playing football with a local side earlier this year after his most recent stint behind bars and looks to be at his healthiest since his playing days.
While Cousins looked a dishevelled figure for the majority of the last decade, he stunned observers when he first trained with Perth Metro Football league side, Queens Park Bulldogs.
“The first night he rocked up was a Wednesday night and every photo I’d seen of him over the past 18 months was Grizzly Adams; scruffy beard, scruffy hair,” Bulldogs president Ross White told SEN Radio in May this year.
“Then this guy’s walking across the paddock, just in his sneakers, black T-shirt and that, and he had this cropped hair … and I suddenly realised it was Ben Cousins. It was the look of how he played 15 years ago.
“He’s made a dramatic change since he got out in September, October last year. He just came down, he must have been doing lots of work anyway and he was fairly fit when he got there, and just continued to train well and train hard, even though he is 42 now.”