AFL club plans to back Cousins' comeback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL club plans to back Cousins' comeback

By Sam Lienert 15/10/2008 06:15:35 PM Comments (0)

An AFL club wants to present a plan to the sport's ruling body on how it intends to help Ben Cousins win his battle with drug addiction.

The 30-year-old, who is nearing the end of a 12-month suspension for bringing the game into disrepute, needs to gain approval from the AFL Commission next month to be allowed to return.

Cousins' manager Ricky Nixon said Collingwood, St Kilda and a non-Victorian club had all expressed interest in the former West Coast skipper.

One of the clubs - Nixon declined to specify which one - had gone to the extent of developing a plan to help with Cousins' rehabilitation and wanted to put it before the commission as part of the case for his return.

"A club yesterday presented to me a fairly detailed plan of how they think they can assist Ben in football and life going forward," Nixon told Melbourne radio station SEN.

"They actually even made a very, very good comment and put forward the motion that perhaps the plan is presented to the commission as part of him being eligible to play again.

"I think that's very professional and probably a good way forward."

Nixon said the club's proactive approach was one of the most heartening developments in Cousins' comeback bid.

"Some of the things they put forward in the plan yesterday were outstanding, things that I hadn't even thought of myself," he said.

"Attracting people to the club, people Ben knows that can help him and get some confidence out of him being at the club and keep him going and focussed in the way that he needs to be."

Nixon said he was confident Cousins was ready to return and the ban had had a "massive" effect in ramming home how much the game meant to him.

If given the go-ahead by the AFL, Cousins is likely to nominate for the pre-season draft on December 16.

Meanwhile, Nixon revealed that several clubs were taking a less tolerant approach to suspected drug use within their ranks than the AFL's three strikes policy.

"One captain, the club was aware that one young player might have overstepped the mark," he said.

"The captain grabbed him in a team meeting, the coach was about to address it, but the captain stood up, grabbed him, shoved him against the wall and said: `If you ever ever take drugs in my footy club I'll fair dinkum kill you and you'll be out of this club.'

"The kid absolutely packed himself and so did the rest of the playing group.

"I can assure you I don't think any of them will be going near it after that display.

"Whether that's good leadership or not I don't know but it was one way of addressing it."

Nixon said the coach of another club took the stance that a player would be kicked out of the club if a member of the leadership group became aware that they were using drugs or conducting other activities that broke club policy.

"There's no second chances, it's zero tolerance," he said.

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