Nisbett confirms 'no' to Cousins return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Nisbett confirms 'no' to Cousins return

By Justin Chadwick 15/11/2008 06:33:43 PM Comments (0)

West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett says "the door is shut" on Ben Cousins, despite the impassioned pleas of former Eagles chairman Murray McHenry for the club to re-instate the 238-game AFL veteran.

McHenry wrote a moving letter to AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and chief executive Andrew Demetriou asking for the 2005 Brownlow Medallist to be allowed to resume at West Coast -- without re-entering the draft.

Cousins was axed from West Coast last year and de-registered by the AFL after WA police arrested and charged him with possessing a prohibited drug and failing to comply with a requirement to undergo a driver assessment.

Those charges were later dropped.

AFL commissioners will decide Cousins' fate when they meet in Sydney next week.

McHenry said it was crucial for Cousins to be surrounded by family and friends in a familiar environment upon his return to football to win back his health after a lengthy battle with drug addiction.

But Nisbett said the board's decision to get rid of Cousins was final.

"The door is shut. We made that decision 12 months ago," Nisbett said.

"We've discussed it with Ben on several occasions and we felt it was in the best interests of both parties that we moved in different directions.

"If Ben wants to play football we are fully supportive of that but it won't be at West Coast.

"Murray's a good friend of mine and he's entitled to his option. In this case we don't agree with him."

In McHenry's letter, which was published in The West Australian newspaper, he wrote: "If you decide to reinstate Ben as a player and he moves to another club, my fear is that he will become a 'gun-for-hire' where any remote failure will be met with an unfairly high level of public castigation.

"If Ben came under any sort of pressure on or off the field during what will obviously be a difficult comeback, I have no doubt that the West Coast player group, led by the more-than capable Darren Glass, would be the better equipped to help him through than anyone.

"This is a clear responsibility to their former champion, captain and friend that I have also communicated to them in writing."

McHenry's calls came after Eagles assistant coach Peter Sumich revealed in September both he and coach John Worsfold would welcome Cousins back to the club.

Last month, Nisbett was forced to send a letter to Eagles members explaining why West Coast would not recruit Cousins back to the club after a groundswell of support grew for the former skipper.

St Kilda are the front-runners to snare Cousins via the pre-season draft should the AFL give him the green light, while Brisbane have also expressed interest in the 30-year-old.

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