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Cousins 'absolutely terrific' at Tigers

By Justin Chadwick 27/08/2009 05:48:42 PM Comments (0)

Richmond caretaker coach Jade Rawlings believes Ben Cousins' impact at the club this season has been as "profound" as any other AFL player over the past decade.

New Tigers coach Damien Hardwick is yet to make a decision on whether to retain Cousins next season but Rawlings said the former Eagle's recruitment to Punt Road had been an outstanding success.

Cousins will return to his former stomping ground of Subiaco Oval on Friday night to tackle the Eagles, who dumped him at the end of 2007 when his drug addiction spiralled out of control.

"When he first walked through the doors it was a bit of a rock star image, everyone was a bit overawed," Rawlings said in Perth on Thursday.

"But his contribution to this footy club is absolutely terrific.

"There have been some people involved in this club for up to 12, 13, 14 years who reckon what he's offered this club has been as profound as anyone.

"The new coach will make a decision on his future but I've enjoyed coaching him.

"I rate Ben Cousins extremely highly.

"He's been excellent in that (leadership) area without having an official title as such.

"We want to hear more from him because he does offer so much.

"He's got a lot of depth to what he says and the players ... love playing with him."

Rawlings, who has led the club to three wins and a draw since taking over when Terry Wallace stepped aside mid-season, spoke to Hardwick on Wednesday but said he was still unsure whether he would stay on as an assistant next season.

"I'm contracted (but) there's a lot of water to go under the bridge," Rawlings said.

"I'll sort that out with Damien and we'll work things out over the next three or four weeks."

Rawlings said he was disappointed to miss out on the senior coach's role but threw his support behind Hardwick to lead the club into a successful era.

"I think the club is to be commended on the exhaustive process they went through," he said.

"They were keen to get what they deemed to be the best person and I fully support the decision.

"Damien Hardwick's got terrific credentials and he'll do a great job.

"He's been involved in successful environments through Essendon, Port Adelaide and Hawthorn so he'll do well."

While Friday's match will mark the end of Rawlings' short stint as Richmond coach, he said he had loved every moment.

"I've been so lucky to be afforded an opportunity at my age to coach this footy club and 11 games is something that can never be taken away from me," he said.

"My experience has been profound in a short amount of time and it can only serve me well ... in the future."

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