New Cousins documentary focuses on addiction


Coming Clean is a new documentary about Ben Cousins.

In Channel Seven’s hour long program ‘Coming Clean’, fallen AFL great Ben Cousins speaks to the media for the first time in a decade (the last time being the controversial documentary “Such is Life” which aired in 2010, also on Seven).

Sporting a pony tail and beard, it was clear Cousins had experienced a very up and down ten years in between the two interviews.

The new documentary mainly focused on his current fight with drug addiction, rather than his fall as a player or his wretched past.

It was clear the documentary was trying as best it could to convey the message that Cousins was on the road to recovery, but his inability to answer a few of the questions from reporter Basil Zemplis made for some pretty unconvincing viewing.

In response to Zemplis’ question, “So I’m clear – can you tell me hundred percent you’re not using drugs anymore?” Cousins says, “Ah well..I’m just not sure that’s how I want to, you know…”

Cousins is clearly disappointed with his previous actions, but his unclear responses to the reporter’s questions highlight his continued fight to escape his past.

The documentary also featured an interview with John Worsfold, Cousin’s coach at the West Coast Eagles for five years and coach of the highly decorated 2006 premiership team.

Worsfold explained in the program the efforts of the Eagles to assist Cousins in avoiding his off-field lifestyle, but the club’s tolerance around Ben’s activities eventually ran out.

But he was still at that point we were supporting, I want to beat this I want to beat this, so I did my absolute best to try and hold him accountable to the values that we wanted to live at West Coast and in the end, we couldn’t align on those and there had to be a break,” Worsfold tells the program.

As detailed in the documentary it was in 2007 when Cousins was eventually sacked by Worsfold and the Eagles, and found refuge at the Richmond Football Club.

Several run-ins with the law are covered, but once again Cousins seemed remorseful but unaware of how to talk about his previous actions.

Throughout the whole program the theme of his recovery is pushed to the front, including conversations from him regarding his family and ex-partner Maylea Tinecheff.

This is where the program takes a much darker tone, with Cousins again being unable to answer questions from his past, for example specifically relating to whether or not he was ever violent with his former partner.

“Are you a violent person?” Zemplis asks.

“I would argue that I’m not,” Cousins replies.

“You would agree Ben that’s never excusable under any circumstances,” Zemplis says.

“Well I wasn’t convicted of some of those things but some of those things I was,” Cousins replies.

“It’s not excusable the things that you did,” Zemplis says.

“I’m not saying it is excusable – one hundred percent the reasons of me being where I ended up was mine, so I agree with you some of it is inexcusable,” Cousins says.

The program has received a wide range of responses from both the public as well as people in the media.

AFL journalist Caroline Wilson admitted that the program would have been a difficult task to produce but said that the presentation of some of the questions was inappropriate.

“The Ben Cousins documentary did not reveal much more than a dreadful cautionary tale about the dangers of drug addiction and the extent to which the Brownlow medallist has fallen mentally,” she said on Channel Nine’s Footy Classified.

“I mean it was just so sad and so awful and some of the things writing to the soapy star, getting him to play tennis with Nat Fyfe as a bit of a gimmick, the meeting with John Worsfold although not really showing what happened.”

Wilson also questioned some of the editing in the program.

“I felt it was strangely edited, I know it was a tough job for Basil…it was sickening, it was just so awful to see how much he is struggling,” she said.