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Cousins still battling his demons

18/08/2009 07:32:02 PM Comments (0)

Ben Cousins admits his battle against drug addiction requires his attention "every minute of every day" as he attempts to earn a new one-year AFL contract with Richmond.

Cousins has been one of the Tigers' few shining lights this season and revealed he was in talks with the club about going on in 2010, although a deal won't be finalised until a new coach is appointed.

The 31-year-old said despite his successful return to AFL ranks, the demons of his drug-fuelled past still remained at the forefront of his thinking.

"It is a battle at times and it is one of those things that requires my attention every minute of every day," Cousins said.

"That is the nature of my predicament."

The 2005 Brownlow Medallist has been heavily targeted by the AFL drug testers this year but said he didn't mind the ongoing scrutiny.

"I see them (the drug testers) more than my girlfriend and my parents," he said.

"I have got a pretty good relationship with them now.

"I see all the same heads, they have a job to do - I understand the reason for that.

"And I have had a few hair tests throughout the year and have not blown one up yet."

Cousins' career appeared over when he was dumped by West Coast at the end of 2007 and suspended by the AFL for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute.

But the six-times All-Australian received a football lifeline when Richmond took the punt and selected him with the final pick of last year's pre-season draft.

Now, Cousins has his sights firmly on turning Richmond's on-field fortunes around next year.

"I'd love to play on," Cousins told Perth radio station 6PR.

"I am sitting down with the footy club last week and this week to hopefully come to some arrangement.

"It won't be ratified until the coach is appointed and if he does not have any drastic problems with me being at the footy (club) hopefully I will play next year.

"I think I have got better as the season has gone on, and my body has got more accustomed to the rigours of AFL footy.

"I am not far away from where I would like to be."

Cousins said it was a blessing he ended up at Richmond rather than Collingwood or St Kilda - two clubs who briefly entertained the idea of drafting the former Eagle.

"St Kilda and Collingwood for that matter are clubs that are in the middle of success and are running themselves," Cousins said.

"Richmond is a club that is in need of some players that have some experience on and off the field.

"I think I can have a bigger impact on the playing list at Richmond.

"I don't force myself on the group, I give an opinion when asked and as I get older I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing a role in helping blokes become better players.

Cousins said it was "ironic" that Richmond's last game of the season would pit him against his old mates at West Coast at his former stomping ground of Subiaco Oval.

"There will be mixed emotions with that," he said.

"It will be interesting to see what sort of reception I get, too."

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