Cousins struts his stuff with Perth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cousins struts his stuff with Perth

By Justin Chadwick 04/08/2008 09:12:27 PM Comments (0)

Fallen AFL star Ben Cousins has started the long road back to redemption, training with WAFL club Perth at Lathlain Park on Monday night.

Perth coach Simon Eastaugh said Cousins, who is serving a 12-month AFL suspension for bringing the game into disrepute, had committed to training with the WAFL outfit three nights a week as the former Eagles skipper bids to keep his AFL career alive.

"I see it as a real positive for our playing group and our club to have somebody of Ben's standard as a footballer to set an example on the training track and it's great for our young players coming through," Eastaugh said.

"Ben really wants to be a part of the playing group, he really wants to get back into the club environment and wants to see where he's at from a footballing perspective.

"From meetings with Ben, I've been really impressed by what he wanted to do and what he wanted to achieve by being with us."

Cousins was mobbed by a throng of media when he arrived at training shortly before 5pm local time, saying "it feels normal" when asked what it felt like to be back.

Cousins, who was sacked by West Coast last year amid his battle with drug addiction, registered with VFL club Port Melbourne last June in his bid to qualify for November's national draft.

But Cousins must first satisfy the AFL Commission that he is over the drug-related issues that led to his sacking from West Coast in the first place before he can resume his 238-game career.

The 30-year-old recently met with independent doctors in Melbourne to get an assessment of his condition and is expected to front the AFL Commission in October.

Eastaugh said the 31-year-old was in good shape to launch an AFL return.

"You see the condition he's in currently, he's well and truly preparing himself," Eastaugh said.

"He's an absolute professional and he was always classified as one of the best trainers at West Coast and it's the kind of workmanlike mentality he has that will set him up well and truly for next year."

Cousins moved sharply throughout the light 50-minute hit-out, watched by more than 100 curious onlookers.

The 2005 Brownlow Medallist ran freely and showed he had lost none of the sublime skills that earned him six All-Australian jumpers and four best and fairest awards at West Coast.

Cousins' father Bryan was a champion of Perth Demons, playing 240 games with the club between 1970 and 1987.

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