This post deals with domestic violence and might be triggering for some readers.
"Not bad for 42! Crowd roars as ripped Cousins kicks goal in end to 10-year football exile"
"They just love him": Ben Cousins wins fans over with return match heroics"
"Ben Cousins looks ripped as he returns to football after 10-year absence"
On the weekend, a rolled-gold legend ran out onto a footy oval for the first time in a decade.
He wasn't playing to the roar of tens of thousands in a packed arena under blinking billboards.
He was turning out for a community football club that struggles to crack a crowd of 200 supporters.
Until Ben Cousins decided to play for them, that is. This past weekend the man often called the "most talented player of his era" gave Perth's Queens Park team a bumper afternoon.
“We normally get 150 on a Sunday afternoon and there was probably over 1,000 there, so there was a lot of interest in the whole thing,” the club's president Ross White told SEN sports network. “Canteen sales were massive, to have that gigantic crowd, it was like chalk and cheese.”
The glowing headlines suggest that this is the beginning of a comeback. That there's plenty of goodwill for Cousins, who played for the West Coast Eagles until he was banned for bringing the game into disrepute in 2007. He moved to Melbourne to star for Richmond football club until his drug and alcohol issues made it impossible for him to play on.