Cousins' future uncertain, says Buckley - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cousins' future uncertain, says Buckley

By Sam Lienert 13/01/2009 06:17:01 PM Comments (0)

Former Collingwood captain Nathan Buckley hopes Ben Cousins can recapture his former greatness, but says it is impossible to predict.

The 30-year-old former West Coast skipper, drafted by Richmond last month after a year-long AFL suspension, has not played since badly injuring his hamstring with the Eagles in the 2007 finals.

It was Cousins' third hamstring injury in a two-month period.

Buckley, himself dogged by hamstring problems in the final years of his career, said it remained to be seen whether Cousins could again be the player who won a Brownlow Medal and four best and fairest awards with the Eagles.

"I don't know and I don't think anyone knows," Buckley said on Tuesday.

"Ben would be fairly confident in his ability to play the game, otherwise he wouldn't put his hand up.

"Richmond would be fairly confident in his ability to play an important role in the next two or three years, otherwise they wouldn't have picked him."

But Buckley was pleased that a club took the plunge on a player almost forced from the game by drug problems.

"It's great for the game, we're a very inclusive sport, we're a very inclusive community and we give people second chances," he said.

"He's got that and I think his press conference straight after being drafted was fantastic, I think we heard what we wanted to hear for 18 months.

"He handled himself very well and now I think we should just let him get on and play football and see what happens."

Meanwhile, Buckley remains undecided about his own future.

Tipped as an AFL coach-in-waiting since his retirement at the end of 2007, the six-time Magpies best and fairest said he was receiving a great grounding as an assistant at the AFL-AIS academy.

"I'm progressing as a coach, I'm learning a lot more about dealing with young talent and it seems more and more the AFL is a young man's game," Buckley said.

"I suppose later in the year... I'll probably have to take a more specific position, have a look at what's going to happen in 2010, but there's still a bit more of this year to go before that."

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