Cousins moves to relaunch AFL career - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cousins moves to relaunch AFL career

By Adam Cooper 30/06/2008 07:06:05 PM Comments (0)

Ben Cousins has taken a major step towards rekindling his AFL career by registering with Port Melbourne in the Victorian Football League.

Cousins, who was last year sacked by West Coast and suspended by the AFL for one year for bringing the game into disrepute amid his battle with drug addiction, had to nominate with the VFL by Monday to be able to play in that competition this year.

Although he currently has no plans to play in the second-tier competition, training with a VFL club will help Cousins maintain his great physical condition if he decides to re-launch his AFL career by nominating for this year's national draft.

The VFL approved Cousins' application, and Port welcomed the 2005 Brownlow medallist into the fold.

Cousins, who also turned 30 on Monday, said last week he was unsure if he would pursue an AFL comeback in 2009, but registering with the Borough at least gave him the chance to train with the club this season.

Cousins is about to begin training with WAFL clubs East Fremantle and Perth and plans to visit Melbourne in a fortnight to meet Port coach Gary Ayres.

He is expected to relocate to Melbourne in August to train full-time with the club, but Port does not expect him to play any games this season.

"At this point we've been told it's just for training," said general manager Barry Kidd.

"But we'd have to be certified if we didn't play him (if he wanted to play)."

Most AFL clubs have shied away from recruiting Cousins because of his age, but some clubs - including Collingwood, St Kilda and Richmond - have not categorically ruled out recruiting the midfielder.

Cousins last week said on the Nine Network's The Footy Show he wanted to keep his options open about playing in 2009, but was confident he could be successful at AFL level again if a club was prepared to throw him a lifeline.

"The question is why would they, or why wouldn't they?" he said.

"Why would they? I thought I played reasonable footy over the course of my career...

"I wasn't playing bad footy before I shipped off to rehab, so from that point of view I've been highly functional.

"It's never been a case of it affecting my footy or diminishing the impact I can have on a game - it's just the off-field stuff that it runs into."

Kidd said Port were happy to accommodate the former star, who played 238 AFL games, including the Eagles' 2006 grand final win.

"We've spoken to the playing group and they're pretty happy about it," he said.

"Hopefully they can learn a few things from him."

Kidd said Port had no problems signing Cousins given his past.

"There were no football indiscretions," he said.

"We know he's here to train and that's all he's interested in, and we are firm believers in giving blokes a second chance."

If Cousins was to make an AFL comeback, it is expected he would also need to undergo medical and psychological tests to satisfy the league he could play again at the highest level.

Cousins said last week he expected to make a decision on his playing future by the time of the AFL finals, in September.

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