Home » Ben Cousins responds to AFL’s ‘tough’ decision

Ben Cousins responds to AFL’s ‘tough’ decision

Former West Coast champion Ben Cousins has opened up on the recent decision by the AFL to keep him out of the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2024.

Cousins had a high-profile drug battle at the end of his AFL career which continued after he retired at the end of 2010.

But the former football star has got his life on track and now has a career in the media with the Channel 7 news team in Western Australia.

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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.

There has been a strong and recent push for a HOF induction for Cousins — who played 270 games at AFL level and won the 2005 Brownlow Medal — but the AFL only this week shut it down.

Part of the issue around Cousins’ induction is his conviction for stalking the mother of his two children which resulted in a stint in jail back in 2020.

Ben Cousins has got his life on track after his high-profile drug battle. Credit: Getty Images

The AFL was applauded on the weekend for taking a stand against gender-based violence.

But on the Friday ahead of the round, the league stepped in and stopped Wayne Carey from being honoured with Legend status in the inaugural NSW Australian Football Hall of Fame event.

That decision was made because of Carey’s appalling track record with women and past partners.

The question about Cousins soon followed and The Age has reported that Cousins is not being considered this year — and “is not considered likely to be added any time soon” — despite his eligibility and well-documented on-field feats.

On Wednesday Cousins was asked about that decision on radio station Mix94.5.

“Let’s talk, the (Australian Football) Hall of Fame. Now we talked to you a couple of weeks ago about how it would feel being considered again and, you know, you said it’s a … ‘it’s obviously an honour, but you don’t expect it’,” Perth radio star Kymba Cahill put to Cousins.

“Now the AFL have now said you won’t be added to the Hall of Fame this year now.

“Ben, there’s no question that you were a legend of AFL and your performance is worthy of a spot in the Hall of Fame, which leads everyone to assume that the reason that you won’t be considered is because of your behaviour off the field and your troubled past.

“So how does that sit with you and how does that make you feel that that might be the reason?”

But a measured Cousins had no issue with the AFL.

Cousins told Pete & Kymba he understood the AFL’s decision. Credit: Mix94.5

“I don’t find myself thinking about this, you know, ever really,” he said.

“It’s, it’s an honour that, umm, it’s hard to come by and, you know, I’m certainly not (there).

“There’s been so many great players over the years. I wouldn’t be envious of the job of trying to only put in a limited few each year.”

Cousins says he “totally understand their decision”.

“I, like everybody else, will sit there and be looking forward to celebrate whoever gets in this year,” Cousins said.

“That’s just the way it is.

“I’m sure there’s a number of things that come into play when making those tough decisions.

“I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes and yeah, there’s no, no ill will or animosity from my end.”

Pete Curulli was impressed with Cousins response.

“Being Ben Cousins, you answer that very well,” Curulli said.

“(But) there’s a lot of fans who disagree.”

West Coast chair Paul Fitzpatrick recently said on ABC radio that he believed Cousins should be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

But the Eagles have not officially nominated Cousins for that honour, however, players and coaches can be inducted into the Hall of Fame without club backing.

More to come …