Cousins can still pull a crowd - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cousins can still pull a crowd

By Sam Lienert 07/07/2010 02:12:54 PM Comments (0)

AFL boss Andrew Demetriou has often compared football to reality television, and that sentiment rung truer than ever as Ben Cousins trained at Punt Rd Oval on Wednesday.

Big Brother would still be on TV if it could garner this much attention.

It was almost as if the 1998 movie The Truman Show - in which the central character unknowingly lives in an artificial world populated by actors for the benefit of television viewers - had sprung to life.

The Richmond midfielder, who spent Monday and Tuesday in a hospital intensive care ward due to the adverse effects of sleeping medication, trained briefly and alone on Wednesday.

The perfunctory session - in which he ran in straight lines for a few minutes, then spent an equally short time kicking and marking - took place in front of a phalanx of television cameramen and photographers.

Their lenses were fixed on the 32-year-old former drug addict from the moment he exited the Tigers' clubrooms to take the field.

The session had the sense of being performed mostly for their benefit.

But Cousins paid the wall of cameras little attention, seemingly almost oblivious after so many years of media scrutiny.

It bordered on surreal to watch one footballer carry out such mundane activities in front of so many onlookers.

It was not just the media gathering that vastly outnumbered the former West Coast premiership player and skipper, with plenty of Richmond staff also on hand.

He was closely monitored by assistant coach Wayne Campbell and a member of the Tigers' fitness and conditioning staff, Adam Douglas.

Two members of the club's media and communications department also helped orchestrate proceedings, while Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale watched on from the stands.

Cousins then made a brief statement to reporters, in which he said he had taken the wrong dosage of a prescribed medication.

While he refused to detail what the medication was, or how much he took, the club has previously said it was sleeping medication.

Cousins said he remembered little of his hospital visit, as he slept through much of it, although ironically he described the episode as a "wake-up call".

He then answered just six questions, before the press conference was cut off, and headed inside slightly less than 30 minutes after emerging - fittingly about the same duration as most TV shows.

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