Ben Cousins made his comeback to the spotlight on the Brownlow Medal red carpet in Perth on Sunday night.
And the 43-year-old former AFL star was not alone – he had a gorgeous blonde on his arm.
The stunner, Kelley Fergus, is a Western Australian FIFO worker and caterer who works for Gourmet WA.
Stunner! Ben Cousins made his comeback to the spotlight on the Brownlow Medal red carpet in Perth on Sunday night. And the 43-year-old former AFL star was not alone – he had a gorgeous blonde on his arm – Kelley Fergus. Both pictured
The fine foods supplier, which opened in 2004, is touted as ‘Australia’s Leading Speciality Food Company’ and supplies fancy snacks to leading stores Down Under and aboard.
The pair looked cosy together as they posed for photos on the red carpet, with Ben placing an arm gently around his date’s waist.
Ben, won the Brownlow Medal in 2005, said he was ‘fortune’ to be making his comeback to the coveted ceremony.
Work: Fergus, is a Western Australian FIFO worker and caterer who works for Gourmet WA
Looking loved up: The pair beamed as they walked into the venue hand-in-hand
Happy days: Ben was in good spirits and gave a thumbs up as he strode along with the stunning blonde
‘I’m just very fortunate that I got the opportunity to come to one of football’s great nights,’ Cousins said on the red carpet.
‘It’s definitely a big night, it’s been a while since I’ve been to one of the football industry nights so I’m looking forward to it.’
The former former Richmond player dressed sharply in a black dinner suit and bowtie provided by Suit Vault’s Jarred Briotti.
Close: The pair looked cosy together as they posed for photos on the red carpet, with Ben placing an arm gently around his date’s waist
So pleased! Kelley shot a megawatt smile as she posed alongside Ben
Happy: Ben, won the Brownlow Medal in 2005, said he was ‘fortune’ to be making his comeback to the coveted ceremony. ‘I’m just very fortunate that I got the opportunity to come to one of football’s great nights,’ Cousins said on the red carpet
Return: ‘It’s definitely a big night, it’s been a while since I’ve been to one of the football industry nights so I’m looking forward to it’ he added
Virtually untouchable and revered after winning a premiership in 2006, Cousins career quickly took a turn for the worse.
At his peak, Cousins was undoubtedly the best player in the AFL, but suffered a rapid demise and subsequent total unwillingness to rid himself of negative life influences.
Last year, Cousins decided to turn his life around after being jailed for the sixth time in 13 years.
Winner: As a former Brownlow medal winner he has a standing invite to attend the event. Pictured in 2005
Demise: At his peak, Cousins was undoubtedly the best player in the AFL, but suffered a rapid demise and subsequent total unwillingness to rid himself of negative life influences. Ben is pictured with Cousins and Chris Judd in 2006
Since last year, he has volunteered at several events in and around Perth with Ms Backshell’s community group KALT Collective, acting as a beacon of hope for disadvantaged youths, addicts and reformed criminals.
Buoyed by the knowledge that getting clean and healthy was the key to being a good dad to his children, he soon started talking to Susan Backshell, a mental health support worker.
She issued him a blunt ultimatum soon after they met: ‘Give your all, or forget it entirely’.
Hard: Cousins had been in and out of jail since 2010 on drug and domestic violence charges. He is pictured outside Armadale Magistrates court in 2016
Hard: Last year, Cousins decided to turn his life around after being jailed for the sixth time in 13 years. Pictured leaving Fremantle Magistrates Court in Perth in 2017
The flow on effect has seen Cousins able to spend more time with his children – his son Bobby, 9, and daughter Angelique, 7.
Before his well-overdue epiphany, Cousins had been in and out of jail since 2010 on drug and domestic violence charges.
‘I appreciate the support of everyone and how many chances they have given me, more than I deserve and more than I would have given anyone else,’ Cousins said according to The West Australian.
A hand: Cousins credits Susan Backshell, (pictured right) a mental health support worker, for helping turn his life around
Cousins – who has now found work in the demolition industry – said his recent foray into the world of community-based sport helped to turn his life around.
‘I’m also loving my club footy (with the Queens Park Bulldogs), it keeps me busy,’ he told the audience at the WA Italian Club.
He was also deregistered by the AFL in 2007 after bringing the game into disrepute, before eventually returning two years later with Richmond, albeit a shadow of the player he once was.
Stronger: Since last year, he has volunteered at several events in and around Perth with Ms Backshell’s community group KALT Collective, acting as a beacon of hope for disadvantaged youths, addicts and reformed criminals
Determined his dark days are now finally over, Cousins has also developed an affinity with the Indigenous community in WA and has taken pride in developing relationships.
‘His kids are everything to him, he truly is an amazing dad. He’s phenomenal,’ mental health support worker Ms Backshell said of the ex-West Coast Eagles midfielder
‘And they adore him. He’s absolutely a role model, an inspiration,’ Ms Backshell added.
Grateful: ‘I appreciate the support of everyone and how many chances they have given me, more than I deserve and more than I would have given anyone else,’ Cousins said. He debuted a clean-cut look as he posed in a brand new suit from Suit Vault’s Jarred Briotti (right) on Friday
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