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Mundine and his Cousins

A media frenzy ensued inside Mundine’s Gym last month in Redfern, when Ben Cousins appeared before a media scrum to talk about his rehabilitation from drug use reports Ben Falkenmire in the South Sydney Herald of March 2008.

Before Cousins answered a maximum of three questions, a condition dictated by the Mundine camp, Mundine sent some clear messages to the media about a man he considers a friend.

“We’re not animals in the wild. We really have to try and help each other in the down times. Some of you guys should get off his back and not kick a monkey while he is down,” the champ said to rapturous applause.

Cousins, looking the part of a Caribbean vacationer in white T-shirt and jeans, appeared anxious at first, but gathered momentum with microphone in hand. “Rehabilitation is an ongoing process,” he said. “You get to the point where you are not completely over it. It’s something that has required my full attention to stay on top of.

“I deep down don’t think I really had a choice in terms of the very things that make me attractive … as a footballer are some of the things that lead me to fall into those traps,” the former Eagles player said.

Under the guise of the Mundine camp, Cousins will fight an exhibition bout in the lead-up to Mundine’s WBA super middleweight defence against fellow Sydneysider Nader Hamdan on February 27.

The bouts will be themed “KO to Drugs”, with all money from the Cousins bout going to rehabilitation centres around Australia.

The Bulldogs’ Sonny Bill Williams, and Nova Perris, a former hockey star for Australia, were on hand to lend their support.

“Sometimes in sports you lose sight of what’s real and what’s not real. A lot of people turn to substance abuse,” Perris said.

Mundine, who is renowned for his zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol, said he believes Cousins can become a role model for young people.

Photo: Ali Blogg - Caption: Sonny Bill Williams, Anthony Mundine, Ben Cousins

Source: South Sydney Herald March 2008 -