Magpies bracing for best of Cousins - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies bracing for best of Cousins

By Sam Lienert 23/02/2009 04:20:20 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood are preparing to face Ben Cousins at his best on Thursday night, predicting the former Brownlow medallist will have no trouble readjusting to AFL tempo.

While Cousins' Richmond debut in the Telstra Dome NAB Cup match will be his first AFL game in 17 months, Magpies veteran Tarkyn Lockyer expected the former West Coast skipper to be primed and ready.

"We're expecting Ben Cousins to be Ben Cousins, we all know that he's a terrific midfielder, a goal-kicking midfielder and one of those guys that is always prepared to the best of his abilities and is ready to go," Lockyer said on Monday.

"For someone like Ben, he's a pretty good player and obviously the speed of the game's picked up, but judging by what I've seen of the footage he's pretty fit and looks like he's ready to go, so I'm sure he won't have too much trouble adjusting."

Cousins' past record suggests he does not need time to find his feet after a long absence from the game.

When he made his Eagles comeback in round 16 of 2007, after a club suspension stretching from the pre-season, he picked up a stunning 38 disposals against Sydney in a best afield display.

The confessed drug addict was sacked by West Coast, then suspended for 12 months by the AFL, at the end of that year, before being given a lifeline by the Tigers in last December's pre-season draft.

While Collingwood was one of the clubs that seriously considered recruiting Cousins, before ditching the idea, Lockyer said they wished him well in his return.

"It's a wonderful story, isn't it, and good on him," he said.

"He's a wonderful player and to come back from what he's been through is tremendous."

Lockyer said the Magpies would field a strong side, with last year's leading goal-kicker Paul Medhurst likely to make his return after back and foot injuries.

"Medhurst obviously got through training today and he's available for selection," he said.

"Hopefully he gets the nod, he's worked pretty hard over the summer."

Another forward, Sean Rusling, on the comeback from a major shoulder injury, could also return, despite being rested from Monday's training session.

The club's only notable injury concerns are veteran key forward Anthony Rocca (ankle) and Irish rookie Kevin Dyas (hamstring), with the Magpies hopeful Rocca will be ready for round one of the premiership season.

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