‘They do owe Ben’: Why Eagles did right thing
ST KILDA champion Danny Frawley has lauded the West Coast Eagles' "outstanding" decision to offer Ben Cousins part-time employment because "they do owe Ben" following his infamous exit from the club.
The fallen AFL premiership player on Wednesday walked free from prison around two months shy of his one-year sentence for stalking his ex-partner.
After being released, Cousins was picked up by his father Bryan from Acacia Prison and taken to the family home in Bicton.
Hours later, the Eagles - the club Cousins played 238 games for - announced they had offered Cousins part-time work with the club's community and game development department, adding the move would have "mutual benefits for both parties".
Frawley praised the Eagles for offering a job to Cousins, who was one of the club's star players during the 1990s and 2000s.
But Frawley added that it was important the Eagles extended the lifeline to Cousins following the club's illicit drugs problem late last decade.
"I'm absolutely rapt for Bryan and Ben and West Coast to actually give him the opportunity because in a roundabout way they do owe Ben, because it probably wasn't a safe environment (at the Eagles)," Frawley told SEN on Thursday morning.
"If you're in a workplace - and they probably didn't know what was going on with a whole range of players - but it happened on their watch.
"I think Trevor Nisbett is one of the best CEOs the game's ever seen. He's smart enough to know that we need to give this kid an olive branch."
Cousins has yet to indicate if he will accept the Eagles' job offer.
As well as having a job, Cousins' extensive parole plan includes having suitable accommodation and family support, while he mustn't have any contact with ex-partner Maylea Tinecheff and must not change his address without approval.
Frawley said Cousins had a wonderful chance to prove to the community that he can turn his life around.
"If he gets it right now, Ben, he's now got a great opportunity to sell a strong message for any person to see what he's gone through. Let's hope and pray that he has turned the corner," Frawley said.
"He's still at a big fork in the road, but I think it's outstanding what West Coast have done straight away, got on the front foot to give him a part-time role."
Former St Kilda and North Melbourne midfielder Nick Dal Santo said a football club is the perfect place to be for someone that needs structure and discipline, hence why Cousins' potential return to the Eagles would be a good result.
"It gives you structure, if you're player there's 45 other people that are there that are highly motivated," Dal Santo told SEN.
"I know he has been at the football club and made mistakes previously, but I love the idea that they are trying to bring him back into the family and trying to support him in the way that they can."
Former Eagles teammate Michael Braun said Cousins would likely need help to stay on track after his release from jail, but was confident he would get the right support.
"I think a lot of people still respect him and I think the fact that West Coast have offered him that helping hand (with work) just shows how much everyone does want him to get better and have some structure back in his life," Braun told PerthNow.
"I'm sure he'll do the right thing
"He seemed very upbeat every time I went (to visit) and he was always keen to talk about all the players and put himself on the straight and narrow."