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Cousins injured but not out of limelight

By Adam Cooper and Melissa Iaria 30/03/2009 04:19:54 PM Comments (0)

Ben Cousins can forget about lying low, out of the limelight, while his injured hamstring recovers.

The Monday after the first round of the AFL season - when the Richmond recruit could be forgiven for bunkering down after his latest injury setback - his bizarre life took a couple of weird turns, even by his soap opera standards.

First, on a breakfast show on FM radio, Cousins detailed his debut for the Tigers last Thursday, before a crowd of almost 87,000 at the MCG, which began with an early touch but ended in frustration, with another hamstring.

It's the injury seemingly all of Melbourne is talking about.

Even in the legal precinct, where a man cleared of a gangland killing urged people to get off Cousins' back.

Angelo Venditti said Cousins had been exposed to "smear and innuendo that was both untrue and unfair".

Venditti had just been acquitted in the Melbourne Magistrates Court of murdering drug dealer Paul Kallipolitis in 2002, but said his "good friend" was getting a rough ride.

"He should be allowed to continue with his rehabilitation off the field and his brilliance on it," Venditti told reporters.

It emerged during Venditti's bail hearing in December that he and Cousins were acquaintances and Cousins admitted as much during the press conference held after Richmond recruited him.

Soon after that admission Cousins' manager Ricky Nixon took umbrage at a reporter asking the footballer about his acquaintance and called the reporter - in a packed room - "a knob".

Cousins' radio interview on Monday followed a television interview on Sunday and his outlining his post-game feelings in a column in a newspaper on Saturday.

He is yet to get through an entire game for Richmond and won't do so for at least a month, maybe longer depending on his hamstring, which means Cousins will continue for the next few weeks making bigger headlines off-field than on.

It's a good thing the recovering drug addict has a sense of humour.

"I'm a pretty easy target," Cousins said on Nova 100.

"No one laughs about it more than me, you've got to find the humour in it."

In a sign of what could follow in coming weeks ,given Cousins cannot play at the moment, the radio station then offered listeners the chance to guess Cousins' current weight for cash.

Annie couldn't believe it when her guess of 83.3kg won her $10,000.

"There you go," said Cousins, sounding like he couldn't believe all of this either.

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