Ben Cousins: Such Is Life

The sizzle feels like it’s been around forever, but now we’re finally getting the steak.

What did you all make of the product delivered?

And what to make of the whole Cousins drama? What does it tell us about the modern football scene?

Fire away folks.


  1. John Butler says

    Regarding the doco so far, there was plenty about what went on (which you largely knew already if you cared to), but precious little about why.

    I’ll await tonight’s instalment for signs of some deeper digging. I may not hold my breath.

  2. pauldaffey says

    I found it compelling. And, JB, I reckon he explained well enough. He’s an intense character who goes to extremes with everything he does. It’s why he’s been such a good footballer.

    I suppose you’re right, however, if you’re thinking along the lines that most addicts are trying to escape some aspect of their past, even if it’s a subconscious thing from infancy.

    The image of him jumping fences to escape the police might be prescient.

  3. John Butler says


    There’s no doubt it’s a classic tale of too much too soon.

    But I think there are so many other aspects which were barely touched on. Maybe I’m being unrealistic about the nature of the enterprise.

  4. I watched Spicks and Specks then the Gruen Transfer. I’m WAY over Cousins.

  5. Andrew Fithall says

    Dips – I am glad someone still has some power over the remote control. I was out-voted. Thought I could watch S&S on ABC2 tonight and then found out that the Cousins doco went into a second night.

    Having said that, I did find it worthwhile watching. As he has stated before, the same traits that make him the athlete and footballer that he has been are the same ones that leave him exposed to other addictions. Was interested to see that Andrew Fraser appeared briefly – another person who has been able to perform in life to a very high level while continuing a habit with unlawful drugs.

    What is missing for me is WCE’s accountability. When a parent comes to the club and tells them that they shouldn’t appoint their son as captain, and the club ignores the advice, it tells me that the club knows what is happening but refuses to take any responsibility. The message that sends throughout the club is plain – this is acceptable behaviour as long as you don’t get caught and don’t cause any trouble for the club. The ramifications of that approach are still being felt.

  6. Andrew Starkie says

    what motivated Ben to make the doco? As he filmed himself taking drugs, hanging out with crooks, talking to his manager etc, was it with a long term thought to make a film? Was the doco inspired by a desire to educate young people or was he thinking of himself and the bottom line?

  7. Ditto Dips. Following Gruen, the Chaser boys completed their ‘Yes We Canberra’ series with the funniest episode. The last piece, trying to hand Karl Bitar (ALP National Sec and the poster boy faceless man of the NSW ALP Right)the Grand Mal award for the “greatest act of political suicide during an election campaign” was priceless. Beyond humour, almost beyond satire. Bitar tried to hide from the Chaser team as they tried to present him with the Grand Mal trophy. You couldn’t write that.


  8. David Downer says

    I concur with the general consensus.

    Compelling viewing, but thus far I’m not sure of its real purpose, or whether any “message for the kids” is at the heart or motivation of it. Pure entertainment wise, there doesn’t have to be, the story sells itself – but having marketed it as providing an educational message, they didn’t nail it in Part One. Perhaps tonight’s conclusion will deliver on this. So far, his “rock and roll” lifestyle still looks pretty attractive to a lot of young blokes. The depths didn’t appear all that deep – stories retold with a smirk on his face, and a demeanour that suggested everything was still well in control – and that’s Ben being Ben I know.

    Cousins might be battling the demons of his addictions forever more – but given his support networks, access to wealth, and natural gifts (talent, looks, charisma etc) – you’d think he’d be starting way ahead of others suffering a similar plight. On that front I doubt he’d be winning many sympathy votes for all this – granted, he wouldn’t expect them either …maybe I’m looking for a “message” in all this that isn’t actually there.

    And obviously the Weagles don’t come out of this looking too clean. Many unanswered questions. It’d be hard to argue their current plight is not a direct consequence of this story.


  9. Tonight I’ll probably watch the inside of my eyelids.

  10. Andrew Starkie says

    Yep, Dave, always a bit sceptical of the ‘educating the kids’ line. he lost me a bit at the opening credits. My yr8s were having a laugh about it today.

  11. I’d no intention of watching anything. Someone told me I should watch it with my son – who said he didn’t care either way – as it would be such a schoolyard topic. I struggled guiltily until the break …for OzLotto Draw! We both LOL!!! They’ve gotta be kidding. I might turn the telly on later tonight for some England v Pakistan.

  12. Those bloody tatts breaks…ruined the flow of the whole thing, i don’t think there should have been any commercials. I was hooked on what was happening and then the lotto numbers would come up. Im very much looking forward to the continuation tonight since I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it; my friends are not footy fans. Most of them refer to Ben as the ‘drugie guy?’instead of his footy playing and Brownlow, I think that’s pretty sad. Im defiantly learning a lot from this doco about how sportsmen react to drugs and how they think but at the same time its very touching. :(

  13. Just a question. When it showed Cousins staring blankly into space after taking drugs in his apartment or whatever (with the bottle of Sprite and other things on the table, gee he loves his Sprite) was this a reinactment, or was it filmed in real time? Because a couple of things from last night were reinactments, I was just wondering about this one.

    Looking forward to tonight.

  14. John Butler says


    That’s a good question. It wasn’t at all clear what was re-enactment and what was real-time.

    He apparently kept a video diary while suspended, which is pretty odd- who films themselves breaking the law? This is a modern trend I struggle to understand.

  15. Pamela Sherpa says

    The Chaser boys were hilarious -Peter Garrett and the whales segment -priceless

    I had no intention or interest in watching Ben’s doco. Am sick of hearing his name and sick of the media and the AFL glorifying and making excuses for him.

    As for telling us it was a must see to educate us on the dangers of drugs -Fair Dinkum. What an insult.

  16. Well that was very interesting.
    When all the stuff about Ben wanting to go to Collingwood came up I felt shattered.
    My team had turned away someone who was clinging to life by a thread.
    I was up for Ben coming to Collingwood, id welcome him with open arms and chocolate muffins!
    when I knew about the whole investigation thing, I didn’t like it one bit.
    I can’t understand why they met with him and built his hopes up to nothing.
    At that point I thought; sh*t they really screwed that up!
    The rejection and their doubt in his trust would have also been a major let down for poor Ben. i must admit right now being a Magpie and all i feel a little ‘gross’ Collingwood should have felt proud that a player like Ben wanted to join their family and the way they dealt with the situation and seeing how it effected Ben disgusts me.

    There also has been talk about this doco being more of a ‘life of a rock star’ thing instead of the journey of struggle that it is. i find it ridiculous that people think it is Ben’s way of being glamorous ect, bloody hell the guy can’t help that fact that he was born beautiful! These people need to understand that behind the pretty face Ben was trying to reach out and tell his side of the story, not use it as a launch pad to after-footy fame.
    You need to look behind his school boy grin to see the anguish that he suffered.
    If Ben had instead had a breakdown people would have said he’s milking it, too dramatic, exaggerating and then if he bottles it in they say he’s not really sorry or something like that.
    I think he handled himself well, portrayed himself to be a normal human. I myself am an emotional person but I never cry in public, I prefer to cry alone that’s just how I am and so I can understand why Ben is like that too.
    His response to this sums it up perfectly.

    -My tears are something I hold close to me, they’re for me and my family.
    Ben Cousins.

  17. John Butler says

    Given that so much emphasis has been put on this doco as a cautionary tale, I’m interested in what the younger Almanackers think. You’re of an age where this subject matter is highly relevant, and I suspect you may view it differently from us oldies.

    Did you learn anything you didn’t already understand?

    Danni has spoken eloquently to how she reacted on an emotional level, but what of the rest of you?

    Was this film more a instructive exercise than the standard sort of lecture you might get on this topic?

  18. I didn’t consider watching it.

    I find it very hard to take seriously any current affairs type program on commercial television.

  19. Dave Nadel says

    Sorry Danni, I didn’t react to it as you did. I don’t always agree with Mick and I have a lot of criticisms of Eddie but they were absolutely right about Ben.

    Collingwood is full of promising young players and a few brilliant older players who have had behavioural problems in the past (Dids, Heater even Swanny). The club would have been crazy to recruit a player with a long history of misbehaviour and substance abuse and links to organised crime without doing due diligence to check that he was likely to remain clean.

    Ben did not pass the due diligence and Collingwood correctly passed on his recruitment. The money that might have gone to Ben went the following year towards Jolly and Ball, two players that were almost as talented and had spotless private lives. They have helped get us to the top of the ladder.

    I am pleased that Ben Cousins cleaned up his act and has done well at Richmond, I really am. But I am glad that Collingwood did not risk its future and actually, although I was very impressed by Bryan Cousins I felt that much of the doco was a self serving whitewash.

  20. No problem Dave, everyone seems to have some sort of conflicting view with another person.

    i just thought that with us being a club with lots of $$$ we would be able to help him even more. We could have kicked out Dids, Heath and Swanny but in giving them a chance they were able to produce, this is why i now ponder what may have been if we had given that chance to Ben.

  21. In a previous life I worked in a bar at Subi Oval. I used to give 11 yo Benny free Pepsi. Then he turned to Coke…
    I have always had suspicions about the WCE way, and their ability to turn a blind eye to the excesses of their players. Most likely other clubs are similar but through being close to them in the early 90s I did see and hear some pretty hair-raising stories in the Malthouse era. And the crop under Woosha seemed determined to outdo their predecessors. I dont think it really matters much in the wash up, but if every fallen idol makes a doco we’ll need a new channel.

Leave a Comment