Brownlow Medal 2023: Ben Cousins steps out with special guest, Nathan Buckley girlfriend on red carpet, photos

The 45-year-old’s big comeback on Monday night comes after he took up the job to read the morning sports bulletin on 7News in Perth, with colleagues describing him as “keen to learn”.

While Cousins attended the 2021 Brownlow, held in Perth, this year marks the first time since he won the AFL’s highest individual honour award in 2005 that he’s returned to the sporting capital of Australia for the ceremony.

Cousins stepped out on the red carpet alongside his sister Melanie, as the siblings looked delighted to be there.

He appeared to enjoy the event and was seen shaking hands with Melbourne Demons star Christian Petracca.

The former Eagles superstar said football had been a “constant” in his turbulent life.

“I know I’m starting from a long way back but I needed to feel like I was making a contribution,” he said.

“Once I was released, I wasn’t quite at the stage where I felt I was in a position to get back into full-time work so I connected with a community football club, just training a couple times a week over the summer. It was one I hadn’t had any involvement with prior so I didn’t know anybody at that stage.

“I was out of my comfort zone and getting to meet new people. It was football for me that was a constant. I enjoy having a kick and it was that which got me back involved in the community. It played a really important part in my recovery.”

It’s another positive move in the life of the former AFL superstar as he continues to rebuild his life.

Cousins had a troubled end to his football career, resigning his captaincy at West Coast in 2006 after fleeing an RBT before it was revealed he had a substance abuse problem.

Cousins spent time in rehab in the same year before he was arrested for drug possession the following year.

He was delisted and banned from the AFL for 12 months, ending his time at West Coast after a Brownlow Medal in 2005, the 2006 premiership, six All-Australian selections and 238 games.

In 2009, Cousins did return to the AFL, playing the final two seasons of his career at Richmond.

After his career, Cousins’ life spiralled out of control, leading to a public battle with drugs and legal issues, including serving a 12-month prison sentence in 2017 for stalking the mother of his children Maylea Tinecheff.

But in more recent times, Cousins appeared fit and healthy. He has also been open about his recovery from drug addiction.

Cousins also returned to the Eagles for the first time in 16 years in March, playing in an exhibition legend’s game at Optus Stadium before the Eagles’ clash with GWS in round two.

Buckley steps out with girlfriend

Another AFL legend who turned heads was former Collingwood player and coach Nathan Buckley, who appeared on the red carpet with his new partner Brodie Ryan.

Buckley looked dapper in his suit and bow tie, while Melbourne socialite Ryan wore a striking shiny dark green dress.

The couple went public with their relationship a year ago, with Buckley appearing smitten with Ryan after his relationship with influencer and cosmetic surgeon Alex Pike ended.

The 50-year-old Collingwood great recently opened up on the breakdown of his marriage to wife Tanya following their split in 2020.

“The most traumatic thing that’s happened to me recently was my marriage breaking down,” he told News Corp.

“The two most important things to me were family and footy. That was pretty much me. And when the family element started breaking down, my immediate family, I lent on football even more than I had before.

“Sometimes you think things are going to be forever, and they aren’t, and that’s OK,” he said.

“I think that it’s OK to celebrate, and to be grateful for a period of time that you have had, with someone, or at a job, or being in a sweet spot. But there’s no guarantee that it’s going to last, so be grateful for it. I’ve got two boys that I love dearly, from marriage.

“Tania was a big part of helping me through my life, and hopefully I did that for her as well.

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