Tigers confirm Cousins talks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers confirm Cousins talks

By Roger Vaughan 12/12/2008 09:19:40 PM Comments (0)

Richmond have confirmed they are speaking to Ben Cousins, but they will only recruit him with a second pick in the AFL pre-season draft.

Cousins has a nervous wait ahead of Monday's AFL Commission meeting, where the league will rule on an unusual and controversial application from the Tigers.

Richmond want to put key-position player Graham Polak on the rookie list as he continues to recover from the head injuries suffered in June, when he collided with a tram.

As a result, the Tigers also want a second pick in Tuesday's pre-season draft.

Two days after the story broke, Richmond president Gary March confirmed the club is talking to the 2005 Brownlow Medallist.

More importantly, March has stressed Cousins would only become an option if the commission gave the Tigers a second pick.

"We've stated all along we'll be using our pick on the pre-season draft on a junior," he said.

"Our intention was always to take a young boy - that really hasn't changed."

Richmond delisted 19-year-old David Gourdis after this season and he did not nominate for the national draft - but he has registered for Tuesday.

The league asked for submissions from the other 15 clubs on the Richmond application and these were due on Friday.

Opinion has been mixed among the clubs, with some suspicion about the timing of Richmond's move.

But there is also widespread goodwill towards Cousins.

While clubs such as Collingwood, St Kilda and Brisbane decided against recruiting the confessed drug addict, most people in the game hope Cousins can resume his career.

The AFL deregistered him late last year for bringing the game into disrepute and last month gave the former West Coast permission to play again.

"I can confirm Richmond have spoken to Ben Cousins, but at this stage we haven't made any decision on whether we're going to take Ben," March said.

"Look, we've got to await the outcome of the AFL Commission's decision on Monday.

"We've made an application, our football department, and we'll wait to see the outcome of that, we'll make a decision from there."

March insisted the Polak application was above board.

"It's clear at the moment that Graham's recovery is taking a little bit longer than he'd hoped," he said.

"He came back to training, early signs were that he was recovering and he was hopeful he might recover better than he was.

"But it's slowed down a bit and it's unlikely at this point that he'll play next year."

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said publicly on Friday that he was not aware of Richmond's intentions, other than trying to put Polak on their rookie list.

But it is well-known that the league remained fully informed of the Cousins saga and Richmond's late bid to recruit him.

March said the Tigers had been doing their due diligence on Cousins and stressed they had not made a final decision.

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