The midfielder showed what he is worth in the 2016 TAC Cup as he dominated for the Murray Bushrangers. Cousins was a runaway winner of the club’s Best and Fairest as the Bushrangers made the TAC Cup Grand Final. His season saw him average 24.3 disposals, 4.7 tackles and almost a goal per game. His efforts earnt him a spot in the 2016 TAC Cup Team of the Year.
Cousins was selected by Hawthorn with pick 46 in the 2016 NAB AFL Rookie Draft. With a strong work rate and the ability to get the ball inside the contest or on the outside, Cousins gives Hawthorn another mid as part of the regeneration of their list. Cousins was elevated to the senior list in the wake of widespread injury on Hawthorn’s list. The elevation came in preparation for the Round 10 clash with Sydney. Cousins relished the opportunity and found himself collecting 14 disposals as well as a goal. His tackling was superb, finding 6 for the game and often coming around the stoppages, limiting the power-midfielders of the Swans’ elite. For a first year rookie to impress like he did is incredibly promising and he has certainly proved to show great poise and class at the elite level.
Cousins played an additional 2 games for the season, averaging 13 disposals and 4.3 tackles before sadly needing shoulder surgery that sidelined the young-gun for the remainder of the year. He will now look towards the 2018 season where he will hope to continue having senior appearances. Cousins will continue to benefit and develop greatly in Hawthorn’s environment and will no doubt improve with the aid of further pre-seasons. During the 2017 season, James signed a 2 year rookie extension.