Magpies players 'to have say on Cousins' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies players 'to have say on Cousins'

By Justin Chadwick 19/09/2008 08:23:35 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood players and their families could have a major say on whether the Magpies try to recruit Ben Cousins and end his AFL exile from a drug addiction.

While AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said Cousins' return to top-flight football was far from a done deal, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said the club would meet again with the Brownlow medallist.

Magpies coach Mick Malthouse and football operations manager Geoff Walsh reportedly met with Cousins on Thursday in Perth but McGuire would not confirm that.

However, he confirmed Collingwood would be meeting again with Cousins and would consider recruiting the former West Coast captain, who has been treated for a drug addiction and remains de-registered by the AFL, for bringing the game into disrepute.

"Our club is considering every player that's available," McGuire told radio station SEN.

"If you're saying have we ruled him out, no we haven't."

Cousins, 30, is training with WAFL clubs Perth and East Fremantle in a bid to rekindle his AFL career.

To do that, he must satisfy the AFL's medical staff and the AFL Commission that he has beaten his drug addiction before he can be re-registered and apply for either this year's national draft or next year's pre-season draft.

McGuire said Collingwood would discuss Cousins' possible recruitment with the players given the decision's significance.

"One of this magnitude I think it has to be a club decision," he said.

"I think the players would get a say in this.

"And I'd also talk to the players' parents, everything. This is a big decision.

"I think with this one, the decision has to be made that you want to help rehabilitate the guy.

"It's not just the matter of him getting a kick for you.

"Would he make that big a difference at (almost) 31 years of age? Well, it's questionable.

"If it's a good thing for football to help rehabilitate one of our own and then we all go into it together, it needs to be a pretty broad church of opinion to say yes, let's take on what is a pretty big task."

McGuire said Collingwood also had to weigh up the PR value of recruiting Cousins, and said there was more "downside than upside" for any club considering the move.

He said other clubs had spoken with Cousins and expected them to do so again.

"If it came together and Ben was able to make something of his life, get over his addiction and play good football, it would be one of the greatest stories in the history of the game," he said.

Demetriou said despite all the signs appearing to point to a Cousins return, there were still hurdles the 2005 Brownlow winner needed to clear before being given the green light by the AFL.

"They (the AFL conditions) involve things around testing, medical reports from his medical officers and our medical officers ... that would play a very large role, and what is his frame of mind and his attitude?," he told Fairfax radio.

"Does he want to play? Is he healthy, has he been rehabilitated? Again this is all presumptuous; we don't actually know whether he wants to play."

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