Former West Coast premiership coach John Worsfold maintains he did everything he could for Ben Cousins right up until the relationship between the Eagles and the Brownlow Medal winner reached a breaking point.
Worsfold met with the the fallen AFL star for the first time in years as part of Channel Seven’s ‘Ben Cousins: Coming Clean‘ documentary that aired on Sunday night.
Cousins expressed remorse for his role in creating the drug culture that dogged West Coast for years after he was sensationally sacked by the club at the end of 2007.
“I did my absolute best to hold him accountable to the values that we wanted to live at West Coast,” Worsfold said.
“In the end we couldn’t align on those and there had to be a break.”
Cousins, the 2005 Brownlow Medal winner and six-time All Australian, played 238 games for the Eagles before he was axed after he was arrested on drug-related charges.
Worsfold, who coached the club from 2002 to 2013 – a span that included the 2006 premiership – maintains he never saw Cousins under the influence of drugs.
“Ben decided that, outside his professional time, in his personal time he needed to live a certain way,” he said.
“All I’d say is that he didn’t believe there was anything wrong with that, that this is not affecting anyone, ‘this is for me and my private life’.
“Now that obviously escalated, where he didn’t really have control at some point.
“He was never turning up under the influence of anything when he had training or games.
“It was a conscious decision that he’d made that this was ok to do.”
Cousins was banned by the AFL for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute soon after he was dumped by the Eagles.
He went on to play 32 games in two years at Richmond before retiring at the age of 32 at the end of the 2010 season.
Cousins’ life spun out of control in retirement, his issues with drug dependency resulting in him spending time in jail, where he watched West Coast’s 2018 grand final win over Collingwood.
“Oh, I am sorry, I am remorseful,” Cousins said of his negative influence on the Western Australian powerhouse.
“And the fallout from that has been pretty significant on the club.
“So, it has taken a while since that time for the club to find itself back in a position like it is today.”