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West Coast has always supported Ben: Jakovich


West Coast great Glen Jakovich has rejected suggestions that the Eagles owed Ben Cousins by handing him a job.

Cousins was released from Acacia prison on Wednesday after serving nearly a year in jail bars for stalking his ex-partner, Maylea Tinecheff.

Former St Kilda captain Danny Frawley yesterday suggested that West Coast had a duty to support Cousins, but Jakovich doesn’t agree.

“I don’t think the club owe anyone anything,” he said on SEN Drive.

“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.”

Jakovich said that the position offered to Cousins by the Eagles – part-time role working with the club’s community and game development department – is in line with his parole conditions.

“Part of this position, this job is part of his parole conditions, the club hasn’t just offered it,” he 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.”

Since ending his AFL career in 2010, Cousins has had a few different jobs, but hasn’t been able to hold any of them down – partly due to his addiction problems.

“He’s never had a full-time job,” Jakovich 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.”

Jakovich said that while he hasn’t spoken to Cousins, recently, he had been in contacted with former teammate Andrew Embley who said the ex-Brownlow Medallist was “in good spirits.”

“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,” Jakovich said.

“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.”

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West Coast Eagles Ben Cousins

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