Watts top draft pick, Cousins ignored - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Watts top draft pick, Cousins ignored

29/11/2008 05:06:25 PM Comments (0)

The closest Ben Cousins came to the 2008 AFL national draft was his photo on a large banner hanging from the wall, recalling past glories.

Capping a grim week for the 2005 Brownlow Medallist and confessed drug addict, no club called his name in Saturday's draft at Telstra Dome.

The Brisbane Lions had been the last to publicly express an interest in one of the game's best modern players, but on Friday night they said they would not consider him.

Three days previously, St Kilda ruled out Cousins after five months of research.

The 30-year-old now has only a slim chance of a club stunning everyone by taking him in the December 16 pre-season draft.

New Lions coach Michael Voss said the club wanted to announce their final position on Cousins as quickly as possible.

Early in the week they ruled out taking the former West Coast captain in the national draft, but said they would keep their options open for a pre-season pick.

Their Friday night decision and non-selection in the national draft heightens speculation that Cousins' glittering, but scandal-plagued AFL

career is over.

"We thought it was best we didn't pursue that option," Voss said.

"That's just a call we had to make and I thought it was important to make it as soon as we were clear on it.

"That way, it doesn't leave the propaganda and people filling in the blanks for themselves."

Voss added it was up to other clubs whether

Cousins received an unlikely second chance.

He added it was a "very tough call" but the Lions made it with conviction.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou and Cousins' manager Ricky Nixon declined to comment.

The six-time All-Australian is trying to make a

comeback after the league de-registered him late last year for bringing the game into disrepute.

On Friday, there was a newspaper report that the funeral Cousins attended late last week was for a convicted drug dealer.

The AFL has imposed strict conditions on his return, including regular urine and hair sample tests.

Cousins was the proverbial elephant in the room during the draft, which football insiders agree featured an exceptional depth of talent.

The top 10 picks went mostly as expected, with Melbourne taking key forward Jack Watts at No.1, ruckman Nick Naitanui to West Coast at two and Fremantle snaring midfielder Stephen Hill with the third pick.

Only four delisted players received new homes, with former Essendon utility Tom Hislop going to Richmond at No.58.

Collingwood drafted ex-North Melbourne key position player Leigh Brown, Geelong-listed player Jason Davenport has a second chance at Port Adelaide and Brisbane's Irish experiment, Colm Begley, went to St Kilda.

The Lions will take part in the pre-season draft and could recruit former Sydney goalsneak Nick Davis.

All-up, the 16 clubs drafted 79 players in the last uncompromised draft before the proposed Gold Coast franchise starts receiving concessions.

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