Cousins career still hangs in balance - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cousins career still hangs in balance

15/12/2008 08:32:52 PM Comments (0)

Richmond have refused to sever the thread holding Ben Cousins' AFL career and will make a final decision on Tuesday whether to recruit the confessed drug addict in the pre-season draft.

Cousins was left twisting in the wind for another 24 hours after the AFL Commission threw out Richmond's "plan A" - putting injured defender Graham Polak on the rookie list to allow them two picks in the draft.

Instead, the Tigers will have to decide between a youth policy and one of the greatest players of the modern era with their sole pick in the most anticipated pre-season draft in years.

Richmond said on Monday it was "highly unlikely" they would recruit Cousins in the pre-season draft, but refused to completely rule out the prospect.

It is understood Tigers favourite son and new club ambassador Kevin Sheedy is the prime mover in the push to recruit the 2005 Brownlow Medallist.

That in itself would appear to have bought Cousins time and the Tigers pressure, as Richmond fans clogged talkback radio and internet forums to overwhelmingly support the Tigers using draft pick six to recruit the 30-year-old.

The Tigers represent Cousins' last chance to resurrect a career stalled for more than a year by drug problems and his 12-month ban from the AFL for bringing the game into disrepute.

But the public line from Richmond on Monday was Cousins had little chance of relaunching his career at the Tigerland.

"It's unlikely the Richmond Football Club will select Ben with six. Our position with pick six has been fairly well documented," general manager of football Craig Cameron said.

"This (the AFL's decision to reject its bid to rookie-list Polak) is a decision that was unexpected by us. It's our prerogative to take a deep breath and consider our position.

"But it is highly unlikely we will select Ben."

Cameron said Richmond and Polak were disappointed by the AFL Commission decision.

Polak is attempting to overcome serious head injuries from a tram accident and there is a huge question mark over whether he will play in 2009, or ever again.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said the majority of clubs had opposed Richmond's attempt to reclassify Polak, most questioning the timing and how it related to possibly drafting Cousins.

But Demetriou said the bid was rejected primarily because there were already rules to cope with Polak's unusual circumstances.

"It would be fair to say the majority of clubs were opposed to the submission, but that was just one factor in the AFL Commission's decision-making," Demetriou said.

"We took into account all the circumstances ... but when it was all said and done, we've got rules in place that deal exactly for this situation.

"The mechanism is there for Polak to be placed on the long-term injury list and a rookie elevated from the rookie list for as long as Graham Polak is out of football."

Richmond's reluctance to entirely rule out drafting Cousins may be concern that the young player they want at pick six might be selected earlier.

If that player went somewhere else, the Tigers could then select Cousins as a fallback option.

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