Cousins delighted for old mate Gardiner - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cousins delighted for old mate Gardiner

By Adam Cooper 06/07/2009 04:55:17 PM Comments (0)

Ben Cousins says he is delighted for friend and former teammate Michael Gardiner, who kicked the winning goal for St Kilda in Sunday's AFL blockbuster against Geelong.

Gardiner's four-goal performance was his best for the Saints since he joined them from West Coast, where he and Cousins were teammates and at times sidekicks in off-field controversies.

"How good was the big fella?" Cousins, who this season began playing for Richmond, told FM radio station Nova on Monday.

"I like everybody else had been looking forward to this game for a while and it lived up to its hype and expectation.

"For him to stand up the way he did in such a big game, I was just rapt for him.

"He kicked four in the ruck, has taken a couple of contested marks in the clinches of the game. It was just fantastic."

Gardiner provided the final exclamation point on a superb game when he soared high to take a huge pack mark, and knocked out Geelong's Harry Taylor in the process.

After a delay while Taylor was carried off, Gardiner kicked the goal that put the Saints six points up, and that was the final score of the game.

Gardiner and Cousins played 10 seasons together for the Eagles, until West Coast finally lost patience with the ruckman's off-field misbehaviour and he was traded at the end of 2006.

Injury prevented him playing for the Saints in 2007, but he played nine games last year and has played all but one this campaign, forming a strong ruck partnership with Steven King along the way.

Cousins said Gardiner deserved a change in fortune, as he had endured his share of injuries over the years, which could have contributed to his poor disciplinary record.

"He has had to do it the hard way," Cousins said.

"Right through his career the big obstacles in his career have been his injuries.

"He has come over to Melbourne in the circumstances he has and hasn't been able to get his body right, which, for a player, I don't think people quite realise how frustrating and hard that is.

"That's probably why he took it out on some of those off-field indiscretions and why that came to the surface.

"To see him get his body right and playing the footy he is in a great side is good to see."

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