Cousins will improve, warns Tigers coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cousins will improve, warns Tigers coach

By Robert Grant 01/04/2010 06:07:35 PM Comments (0)

Richmond admitted it took a risk playing controversial Richmond recruit Ben Cousins against Carlton last week - but the club plans to persist with the veteran.

Coach Damien Hardwick said the decision was less than successful but he expects Cousins to improve through the early rounds.

"Ben, to his own credit, played okay last week, not outstanding, and he needed a run because he was probably a game underdone," Hardwick said.

"It's probably like (Western Bulldogs veteran) Brad Johnson, when you're 30 years of age and you probably haven't played those pre-season games as much as you'd like, you do look a little bit underdone.

"The games are that quick at the moment it's unbelievable. Round one, I went to the Bulldogs and Collingwood game and that was lightning," he said.

"If you haven't done the preparation you're actually going to be in a bit of trouble.

"We took a bit of a risk playing him last week and it probably didn't work to the degree we would like but he will be better for the run this week."

Hardwick said Cousins would not be an automatic selection, however.

"He'll play as long as his form permits," said Hardwick who said the recovering drug addict had had a positive influence among the young playing group.

"Ben has been terrific," he said.

"He is the first to admit that pre-Christmas he had a few things on his mind but from Christmas onwards he has been outstanding.

"He had that illness for a while so he missed four training sessions but he has been very good for us."

Hardwick also said forward Graham Polak, who was seriously hurt after being hit by a tram, was set to play in Sunday's clash with the Bulldogs at the MCG.

It would be just his third game since the tram accident in June 2008.

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