Natalie Barr has put Ben Cousins under the spotlight as he steps into a new role presenting sport for Channel Seven.
The Sunrise host and Cousins were surrounded by footy fans in Melbourne’s Federation Square on Friday morning as they discussed Saturday’s final clash between Collingwood and Brisbane.
Cousins, a West Coast great, embarked on his new career journey as Seven News Perth’s sports presenter in June, after a troubled life that saw him spend stints behind bars and a long battle with drug addiction.
‘Are you well?’ Barr asked.
‘Because we’ve obviously seen lots about you and I know you don’t want to get into it but people have been worried about you.’
Natalie Barr put Ben Cousins under the spotlight on Sunrise on Friday morning, saying a lot of people had been ‘worried’ about the former footy star
Cousins admitted it had been a ‘long road’.
‘It really has. I wish it hadn’t needed to run its course like it did, but life’s great at the moment,’ the former footballer said.
‘When you strip everything back and asses your life, for anybody, it really is in its simplest form, goes back to what makes you happy and for a long time I wasn’t. But, you know, I very much am these days.’
Cousins said ‘life was good’ and added that while taking on the role of sports presenter was ‘out of his comfort zone’, he was grateful for the opportunity.
‘It has been daunting,’ he said.
‘I’ve done a fair bit of work over the past 18 months in the lead up to doing it live so there’s definitely been some anxiety and nerves attached to it, so it’s a work in progress.’
Cousins, a West Coast great, embarked on his new career journey as Seven News Perth’s sports presenter in June, after a troubled life that saw him spend stints behind bars and a long battle with drug addiction
Cousins played 238 games and booted 205 goals for West Coast between 1996 and 2007, winning the premiership in his penultimate season in Perth.
The former midfielder captained the Eagles from 2001 to 2005, securing the club’s best and fairest awards in four out of those five seasons.
He was suspended by the club in March 2007 – just six months after the Grand Final triumph against Sydney – for alleged substance abuse and sacked six months later after being arrested for drug possession and refusing to submit to a blood test.
He returned to the AFL in 2009 with Richmond, before retiring at the end of the 2010 season.
Cousins was jailed on six separate occasions in 13 years.
He finally realised enough was enough when he was released from prison in December 2020 following a seven month stint behind bars when he was found guilty of stalking and intimidating his former partner.
Almost three years on, the 45-year-old has remained out of trouble.
He returned to playing park football, re-established good relationships with his two young children and is back on the red carpet attending AFL functions.
Cousins now presents the morning sports bulletin as part of his full-time gig with Seven.
Ben Cousins (left) celebrates with teammate Chris Judd after the West Coast Eagles won a AFL grand final thriller in 2006