Garry Lyon and Kane Cornes have reacted to Ben Cousins’ interview with Channel 7, questioning whether the fallen AFL star actually wants to get better.
Cousins sat down with Basil Zempilas for his first interview in 10 years, with ‘Ben Cousins: Coming Clean’ airing on Channel 7 on Sunday night.
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In the documentary, the former Brownlow Medal winner discusses his stunning fall from grace and opens up about spending time behind bars.
Cousins also speaks about his current state and battle to get off the drugs.
But Lyon and Cornes were left unconvinced by Cousins’ claims he wants to get his life back on track.
“I watched it all and he was vague and evasive,” Lyon said on SEN Radio on Monday.
“There were a couple of moments where he was real and vulnerable. In the end, he was altogether unconvincing.
“I didn't have any preconceived notion (of what to expect). We hadn't seem Ben for 10 years obviously.
“Gee whiz, he's a long way from where he was. He's got a look of a man who has lived a really hard life.
“We know addiction is a terrible thing, and physically it would be so draining on you.”
Cornes pointed to one moment in the interview when Cousins struggled to give a straight answer about whether he’d used drugs during the five-day filming period.
“I don’t think watching Ben, he wants to get better,” Cornes said on SEN.
“He said at times he wants to get better, but does he really want to get better? No I don’t think he does.
“There were moments where I think he sounded coherent and was engaging, and there were moments where he was completely off the rails.”
Lyon also added his voice to a chorus of criticism about the way the documentary was filmed, including what many thought was a random appearance by Fremantle star Nat Fyfe.
“One of the strangest things of all is that he had a game of tennis with Nathan Fyfe,” Lyon said.
“It was just out of the blue and there was kind of no context to it. He just bobbed up.
“Fyfey asked if he liked tennis and he said, 'Yeah I played a lot in jail'. Then they went and played tennis on the lawn courts, Fyfey shook hands, said good luck and he was off.
“It was a bit weird. And the weirdest thing of all … Nathan Fyfe brought what I think was an old wooden donnay racquet to play tennis with. A wooden one! From the early '80s I reckon it was.”
Aussie star leads criticism of Cousins interview
Former Wallabies star Matt Giteau was among those to criticise Channel 7’s interview on social media.
Scores of fans criticised the interview for failing to reveal any new information about Cousins’ plight, while many including Giteau felt it was inappropriate given Cousins is still clearly struggling.
“Channel 7 couldn’t care less about Ben Cousins in my opinion,” Giteau tweeted on Sunday night after watching the interview. “Just wanted the story.”
“I felt he was taken advantage of badly and the whole thing was just sad. Say what you want of him but I really hope he gets the help he desperately needs.”
Channel 7 couldn’t care less about Ben Cousins in my opinion.. Just wanted the story.. I felt he was taken advantage of badly & the whole thing was just sad. Say what you want of him but I really hope he gets the help he desperately needs#BenCousins
— Matt Giteau 🇦🇺 (@giteau_rugby) March 29, 2020
And Giteau wasn’t alone.
Absolutely nothing. Insulting to viewers.
— Niall Seewang (@N_Seewang) March 29, 2020
Very concerned by the #bencousins interview. He’s really unwell and susceptible to being exploited. I really hope he can find recovery. It is possible.
— Emily (@emilybwebb) March 29, 2020
Can’t think any good came from that. Was my childhood hero but it’s just sad to see how he is now. Not ready to talk about his Mental Health/Drug Problems let alone fight them. Fingers crossed he surrounds himself with the right people & gets on track, one day 🙏❤️#BenCousins
— Adam McGrath (@AdamMcGrath89) March 29, 2020
The Ben Cousins interview is one of the worst I have ever seen. There was a way to do this in a respectful way, and this misses it completely .
— MGH (@MichelleGHunder) March 29, 2020
This is a terrible interview. There is absolutely nothing of substance. He is cooked and being taken advantage of. It should have been left alone. Channel 7 should be ashamed of airing this IMHO #BenCousins
— Danielle Butler (@danibutler2484) March 29, 2020
Ben Cousins’ stunning fall from grace
The Brownlow Medal winner and six-time All Australian played 238 games for West Coast before he was axed in 2007 after he was arrested on drug-related charges.
He was banned by the AFL for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute soon after he was dumped by the Eagles.
He went on to play 32 games in two years at Richmond before retiring at the age of 32 at the end of the 2010 season.
But Cousins’ life spun out of control in retirement, his issues with drug dependency resulting in him spending time in jail.