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Cousins accepts AFL invite to the Brownlow

West Coast great Ben Cousins has indicated that he will attend Sunday’s Brownlow Medal count in Perth, in what would be a sign of improved circumstances for the fallen champion.

AFL sources have confirmed that Cousins has accepted the AFL’s invitation to attend the Brownlow in Perth, with the league hopeful that the 2005 Brownlow medallist will be there at the same venue as the grand final teams, and where AFL boss Gillon McLachlan will read out the votes.

Ben Cousins poses with his father Bryan after winning the 2005 Brownlow Medal.

Ben Cousins poses with his father Bryan after winning the 2005 Brownlow Medal. Credit:Getty Images

As a former winner, Cousins is automatically invited to the Brownlow, but the circumstances of having the event in Perth – albeit the host Hamish McLachlan will be in Melbourne and with the winner potentially in another state – means the controversial ex-Eagles skipper can attend the event.

Cousins, whose very battle with drug addiction has kept him in the public eye since he left the game, has been working around central Perth in a blue-collar job in construction and, according to locals who have seen and spoken to him, is looking in improved health after he was released from prison earlier this year.

Ben Cousins during his playing days for West Coast.

Ben Cousins during his playing days for West Coast.Credit:John Donegan

If Cousins attends the Brownlow, as he has indicated he would via his reply to the AFL, he will be at the venue which, based on the betting markets, is most likely to produce the winner.

Top fancies Marcus Bontempelli (Bulldogs), and Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca (both Melbourne) will be at the Perth count, by dint of being in the city for the grand final, while Port Adelaide midfielder Ollie Wines, another of the favourites, is expected to be among the South Australian contingent that fly over to Perth for the event.

Wines, Bontempelli, and Oliver are the top three favourites for the medal.

Cousins was sentenced to seven months in prison for stalking his former partner back in November of last year. He pleaded guilty to a drugs charge when found in possession in April of 2020, and fined $1500.

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