Home » AFL answers burning Hall of Fame question on Ben Cousins

AFL answers burning Hall of Fame question on Ben Cousins

The AFL has responded to the burning question about Ben Cousins and his Australian Football Hall of Fame recognition.

On revealing that former Hawthorn full-forward Jason Dunstall would be elevated to Legend status this year, AFL commission chair Richard Goyder was asked about Cousins who has yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

After a Brownlow Medal in 2005 and a premiership in 2006, Cousins retired in controversial circumstances at the end of 2010.

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He had ended up at Richmond after he was banned for a year, and began a highly public battle with drugs following his AFL career.

But Cousins has turned his life around and now has a career in the media with the Channel 7 news team in Western Australia.

He has also joined a Perth radio breakfast team, Mix94.5, and is about to appear on the Seven hit show Dancing With the Stars.

Cousins is set to appear on Seven’s Dancing With the Stars. Credit: The West Australian

With his transformation complete, commentators and fans have now been wondering when the 45-year-old will be admitted to the prestigious Hall of Fame.

Typically, players who are clearly Hall of Fame candidates but have found themselves in controversy following their AFL careers, are made to wait before their induction.

That was the case with Geelong’s Gary Ablett Sr and North Melbourne’s Wayne Carey

Goyder said the AFL had noticed Cousins was doing well and an induction could be coming “in due course”.

“I won’t talk about Hall of Fame. I will say it’s a joy to see Ben in the shape he’s in right now, and I’ve seen a fair bit of him in the west,” Goyder said.

“I think (Cousins’ recovery story) is fantastic … what I would say with Hall of Fame, and it’s almost my precursor to our committee discussions each year, is it’s not who’s in, it’s who’s not in.

“It’s an incredibly high bar to be a Hall of Famer in the AFL, and it’s even higher to be a Legend, so we’ll look at those things in due course.”

Meanwhile, Dunstall — and extraordinary player for Hawthorn who retired at the end of 1998 — was announced as a Legend.

“As a four-time premiership player for Hawthorn, four-time club best and fairest, three-time Coleman Medallist and 12-time leading goalkicker for the Hawks, he is a Legend by any measure in our sport,” Goyder said.

“It is extraordinary to think he kicked double figures in 16 separate games and his 17 goals against Richmond at Waverley in 1992 is the equal second-highest tally in a VFL/AFL game in history.

“Forwards have always held a special appeal for footy fans through the generations and he sits easily alongside the great goalkickers of the past like Coventry, Pratt and Coleman, and names across the game like Robertson, Naylor and Farmer.”

Dunstall kicked more than 100 goals in 1988, 89, 92, 93, 94 and 96.

Goyder congratulates Dunstall after his Legend status was confirmed. Credit: Getty Images

In 1992 he bagged a whopping 145 goals helping him to a career tally of 1254 (third overall in VFL/AFL history).

“Football congratulates Jason on his brilliance and thanks him for everything he has given football, as our next official Legend of the game,” Goyder said.

Queensland-born Dunstall will officially be elevated to Legend status at the Hall of Fame induction dinner in Melbourne on June 18.

“It’s an incredible privilege. I feel very humbled, almost to the point of embarrassment,” the 59-year-old said.

“When you consider there’s just a tick over 30 Legends in the game, it’s the highest honour you can imagine.

“I feel incredibly grateful to the AFL. It’s been a massive part of my life and to sit amongst names that are synonymous with the game now is incredibly humbling.”

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