Too early to call on Cousins: Matthews - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Too early to call on Cousins: Matthews

By Laine Clark 27/06/2008 01:36:36 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews would not be surprised if AFL teams that had already ruled out taking fallen star Ben Cousins changed their tune.

Western Bulldogs, Carlton and North Melbourne said they had no interest in the former Brownlow Medallist who is considering a return to top-flight football.

Cousins plans to register with VFL side Port Melbourne by next Monday as he keeps his football options open.

There is speculation that Cousins could return to the AFL next season.

He has admitted to battling a drug addiction and on November 19 last year the AFL suspended him for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute.

Collingwood, Richmond, St Kilda and Geelong have not categorically ruled out taking Cousins if he is available in 2009.

Essendon coach Matthew Knights said on Thursday he was "open-minded" about the issue.

But Matthews said it "doesn't matter" what clubs said about Cousins now.

"You can say yes, no or indifferent but I don't think anyone is at the stage (of considering him)," he said.

"So many things have to happen. If you said `would a club draft Ben Cousins today', the answer from the 16 clubs would be they probably wouldn't but who knows in three months' time."

Cousins - 30 on Monday - was circumspect on whether he could guarantee a prospective AFL club that there would be no further off-field turmoil when he appeared on Channel Nine on Thursday night.

Matthews seemed to share his concern.

"He's been a wonderful, wonderful player and everyone knows he's been a wonderful, wonderful player, and even at 30, 31 he would be a good player in any team," Matthews said.

"But he's missed a year of footy.

"He's got the baggage issues that surround everything.

"It's a big decision for any club."

Matthews said a "lot of water had to pass under the bridge" for the Lions to even consider taking Cousins.

"All we are talking at the moment is hypothetical and theoretical," he said.

"We are not even at the stage of considering him."

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