Home » AFL responds to Ben Cousins’ Hall of Fame claims

AFL responds to Ben Cousins’ Hall of Fame claims

The AFL has remained coy on whether they’ll ever induct West Coast and Richmond player Ben Cousins into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Cousins’ career, which included the 2005 Brownlow medal and a premiership with the Eagles in 2006, ended controversially, being sacked by West Coast in 2007, then finishing his career at Richmond.

The six-time All-Australian spent time behind bars after his footballing career came to a sour end.

READ MORE: Roosters superstar confirms new home after NRL exit

READ MORE: Tszyu’s Australian rematch in tatters over ‘threat’

READ MORE: ‘Deliberate abuse’: Reds stars slapped with bans

His next years were full of controversy, before the 45-year-old began taking steps to turn his life around, taking on television roles in Perth across 2023.

Now, after the AFL confirmed it was elevating Hawthorn champion Jason Dunstall to Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend status, the question of Cousins’ eligibility has once again been raised.

Chair of the AFL Commission Richard Goyder avoided a straight answer when quizzed on Cousins, but noted how happy the league is to see him doing well.

“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.

The star midfielder has been in the spotlight over the last decade for all the wrong reasons, but has recently been on a reformed path, which includes attending the 2021 and 2023 Brownlow Medal nights and the Australian Open in 2024.

“I think (Cousins’ recovery) 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,” Goyder said.

Goyder did not rule out the possibility of further conversations about Cousins being one day inducted, but noted how difficult it is to reach the prestigious level in the first place.

“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,” he said.

Back in February, the former midfielder announced he was joining the popular television show Dancing with the Stars.

The 45-year-old said the opportunity gave him a new lease on life and helped him deal with his past demons.

“I can’t change what has happened in the past. All I can do is make the most of today,” Cousins said.

At the start of the season, Cousins took part in the Eagles’ family day game before their round two match against GWS.