Speculation as Cousins visits Magpies HQ - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Speculation as Cousins visits Magpies HQ

By Roger Vaughan 18/04/2008 07:04:50 PM Comments (0)

Ben Cousins sparked renewed speculation about his AFL future with a visit on Friday to Collingwood's headquarters.

The fallen West Coast star spent more than an hour at the Lexus Centre, speaking to his former Eagles coach Mick Malthouse.

The AFL banned Cousins from top-level football this year after his well-publicised drugs problems.

But he could make his comeback at some point this season through a lower league.

Malthouse, now Collingwood's coach, also met with Cousins last month in Melbourne.

He strongly denied the Magpies were in the process of trying to recruit the Brownlow Medallist and former Eagles captain.

"Ben's here at the moment, I'm obviously meeting with Ben to have a chat, that's as far as that goes," Malthouse said.

"That's no indicator whatsoever that Collingwood will be recruiting Ben Cousins, so he's got his year to serve.

"What Ben does after that, I hope he does get back into football."

When asked about Cousins' health, Malthouse quickly changed the topic, saying: "we play North Melbourne this week".

Cousins declined to go into any detail when asked for comment after his meeting with Malthouse.

"I'm not talking to the media at the moment, I'm just enjoying a nice day in Melbourne," Cousins said.

Asked if he was any closer to playing, Cousins replied "ah, I don't think so".

But Cousins looked healthy and cheerful and said he was keeping fit.

"I'm feeling good, fresh," he said.

"I'm always doing something, keep the body ticking over."

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said it was possible Cousins could play in the AFL in 2009 and reports were the Brownlow medallist was making good progress in his battle against addiction.

"He could (play next year), we made that clear after our commission hearing that there were certain conditions he had to adhere to which involved the constant medical supervision he has been undergoing and the constant testing," Demetriou told Fairfax radio.

"He has to present himself at the end of the year and we would look at that, and all those recommendations from the medicos.

"If there are clubs out there interested in pursuing him and he fulfils all the criteria that has been set by the AFL Commission, then we would consider that and make a decision at that point in time.

"Our understanding from the people who have been working closely with him ... is that he is making real progress, he is fulfilling all his obligations and is making a really effort to get on top of his illness.

"The reports thus far is very good."

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