Apart from a one-finger salute, Ben Cousins has amazed new Richmond coach Jade Rawlings with his AFL comeback.
The Brownlow Medallist and former West Coast captain will be in the spotlight again on Saturday night when he plays against the Eagles for the first time.
Cousins was banned last year for bringing the game into disrepute and is reviving his career with the Tigers.
He had a slip-up late last month when he "flipped the bird" to a television camera before a game, earning him a $2500 fine and $7500 in suspended penalties.
But otherwise, Rawlings has nothing but praise for Cousins' attitude.
"I won't get drawn into next year, but he has been a major acquisition," Rawlings said of Cousins' future.
"He'll still get a couple of small things wrong - 'the bird' probably wasn't a good career move.
"But the way he supports his team-mates, the way he treats and approaches his training, he's been fantastic.
"There's no ego ... he wants to play for Richmond and win games of footy, I couldn't respect him any more for that."
Rawlings added that Cousins' obvious passion for football had helped him deal with his numerous and well-documented off-field troubles.
"He's unbelievable - I said to him this morning ... he's been able to deal with adversity better than any person I've met," Rawlings said.
"I know that playing against this opposition, he'll be excited, but I'm just confident he'll deal with it.
"He's just so absorbed with being able to deal with what's happened, he just wants to play footy."
Injuries have restricted Cousins to only four games this season, but Eagles assistant coach Scott Burns said he was steadily regaining form.
"He's starting to get a bit more game time slowly," Burns said.
"He was always going to be suspect, when you have a year or a year and a half out, to do a soft tissue (injury), he's got that out of the way now.
"So I would expect, if it's not tomorrow night it will be in the next few games, he'll be really ready to step it up and play 70 or 80 per cent gametime with 30 touches."MELBOURNE AAP
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