West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett has firmly shut the door
on Ben Cousins, writing an impassioned letter to the club’s members
outlining the reasons why the disgraced AFL champion will not be
allowed to return to his former hunting ground.

Eagles fans,
angry at the thought Cousins could be lining up for Collingwood in
2009, have bombarded the club with letters demanding West Coast’s
chiefs allow Cousins back.

Just last week West Coast assistant
coach Peter Sumich said both he and John Worsfold were willing to
welcome back the former skipper with open arms.

But Nisbett is
refusing to budge on the issue, telling the club’s members the decision
to let Cousins go was “the hardest this club has ever made” and one
that was made “only after we had exhausted all other options”.

“The decision to stand down Ben was the best decision for him, for the team and for the club,” Nisbett wrote.

“As CEO I stand by the decision and believe it was vital to Ben and the club’s future.

“The West Coast Eagles is not considering offering Ben a position back at the West Coast Eagles.

club needs to rebuild and invest in our future on the field, and under
John Worsfold and our football department we have made fantastic
recruiting decisions with a new young list, led by club leader and
captain Darren Glass.

“I understand that many of our members
have very strong feelings about this issue, and about Ben’s future, and
I do appreciate that many have taken time to write to the club with
their views.

“I ask you as a member to continue your strong support of our club, of our young list, and our club leadership.

believe we will enter the 2009 season in a strong and exciting
position, and we look forward to returning to the success we have
enjoyed in the past.”

Collingwood are the short-priced favourites to hand Cousins the chance to restart his AFL career in 2009.

Cousins, a recovering drug addict, has spent the past year out of football after being delisted by the Eagles.

He was then banned for 12 months by the AFL for bringing the game into disrepute.

30-year-old will need to gain the go-ahead from the AFL medical staff
this month before being allowed to nominate for December’s pre-season

Assuming he gets the OK form the AFL, Sportingbet
Australia have listed Collingwood as the $A1.25 favourites to select
Cousins, whose coach Mick Malthouse was in charge at the Eagles when
the champion midfielder made his senior debut back in 1996.

Sydney are the second favourites at $A7 to secure the services of the 2005 Brownlow medallist, followed by St Kilda at $A9.