Cousins in ‘good spirits’, job part of parole
BEN Cousins is in "good spirits" after being released from prison on Wednesday and his job offer from West Coast is part of the fallen star's parole conditions according to Eagles great Glen Jakovich.
Cousins was on Wednesday released from Acacia prison in Western Australia after serving nearly a year behind bars for stalking his ex-partner.
Hours later, the Eagles revealed they had offered the premiership player a part-time role with the club's Community and Game Development department.
"Part of this position, this job is part of his parole conditions, the club hasn't just offered it," Jakovich said.
"He didn't serve his full 12 months so (his) parole conditions are that he integrates back into the community and part of that is having a job and a future.
"I think initially Ben will be integrated into the workforce so he first and foremost gets some structure so he gets up and goes to work like us all.
"From there map out a program that suits Ben and value adds to the club and himself and pleases the parole board."
The former West Coast captain, who has long battled a drug addiction, had been in jail since March for causing "ongoing terror" to ex-partner Maylea Tinecheff.
He and Tinecheff have two young children.
Jakovich has not yet spoken with Cousins but said he has spoken with former teammate Andrew Embley who has spoken with the 39-year-old.
"(He) said he's in good spirits," he told SEN.
"Obviously being incarcerated has its challenges and he came across a few no doubt when he was inside but now he's out and it gives him a taste of a bit of freedom.
"The biggest thing is the first three or four weeks is a very dangerous period for relapse because you've got that sense of freedom where he can get out and do what he wants to do and see his mates, catch up with friends that he hasn't been able to do in the past 10 months.
"Hopefully he's on a good path.
"I think the biggest thing we've noticed and the whole situation of him going inside was the fact he wasn't able to see his kids and that really affected him ... not being able to see his two kids, he really struggled to deal with that before he went inside.
Jakovich rejected suggestions West Coast owed the former star midfielder.
"I don't think the club owe anyone anything," he said.
"I think the club did an enormous amount of work when Ben was at the club. Some might say it was a little bit too late, and I'd probably agree with that as well, but I don't think people in the public forum realise how much work West Coast did at their own expense to try and help Ben and break the cycle he was going through.
"The club have always been invested."
Cousins has not been able to hold down a job since his AFL career ended, Jakovich said, but hopes the role with the club he played 238 games for will break the cycle.
"He's never had a full-time job," he said. "He basically went from school straight into the West Coast Eagles as a promising rookie under the father-son (agreement) the Eagles had with the WAFL system.
"Post-2007 he's never really had a job - I know he's had a variety of roles. I think there was a few little jobs there in the last couple of years but he's struggled to hold them and hold them down and that's where the troubles have continued for him in the last three or four years."