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Ben Cunnington

Age: 30yr 4mth    Games: 227     Born: June 30, 1991     Origin: Geelong Falcons
Height: 185cm     Weight: 88kg     Position: Midfield
Last Drafted: Round 1, Pick #5 2009 National Draft by North Melbourne Kangaroos
Supercoach Price: $590,400   Supercoach Profile
AFL Fantasy Price: $775,000   AFL Fantasy Profile
Contract Status: UFA at the end of 2022   AFL Player Contracts
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Ben Cunnington Biography

Friday, 1 October 2021
Jy Simpkin wins his first Syd Barker Medal as the Kangaroos' 2021 club champion with 143 votes ahead of Ben Cunnington on 117 votes.
Friday, 13 August 2021
Ben Cunnington is eyeing a return to AFL action in 2022 after receiving further good news in the wake of successful surgery to remove a testicular tumour.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021
Ben Cunnington will be sidelined indefinitely after having surgery to remove a testicular tumour.

"This has all happened very quickly, but our focus is on Ben and his family right now as they deal with this news and allow him to recover fully," North's general manager of football Brady Rawlings said.

"From the diagnosis earlier in the week up until this point, we've moved quickly to ensure Ben is in the right hands medically and that he and his family have the right support around them."

Friday, 5 March 2021
Jack Ziebell will lead a new-look Kangaroos leadership group in his fifth year as captain for the North Melbourne Football Club.

Luke McDonald and Jy Simpkin have been elected as co vice-captains, while Robbie Tarrant, Ben Cunnington, and Kayne Turner, round out the group.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021
Ben Cunnington is on track to return to full fitness after hardly missing a beat over the pre-season in his return from a crippling back injury.

The 29-year-old managed only three games in 2020 as he battled a crippling back injury that also affected his quad muscles.

"We're getting some really good loads into him at the moment so it's just about managing those knowing the history with his back. But so far, so good and he's been really good," North Melbourne coach David Noble said.

Thursday, 13 August 2020
Ben Cunnington is ruled out for the remainder of the 2020 season after the Kangaroos abandoned plans to have him return from a painful nerve problem in his back, which had resulted in a lack of strength in his quadriceps.

With just six matches remaining, it was determined that even if the problem was to be rectified, Cunnington would still require a four-week block of training before being passed fit to play.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020
North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw sings the praises of Ben Cunnington and predicts a big 2020 season for the veteran.

"Ben's a superstar, an underrated superstar; he goes under the radar a lot of the time," Shaw told radio station SEN.

"He's a fantastic AFL footballer. Ben's worked really hard, as all the great players do. They're trying to find ways to get better all the time, and Ben's really pushed himself this pre-season.

"His form in our match [simulation] and game sense drills is second to none, so I'm looking forward to seeing what Ben can produce early on in the season. I think he's someone that we're going to rely on pretty heavily and hopefully he can take us a fair way."

Thursday, 6 February 2020
Jack Ziebell will lead North Melbourne as captain again in 2020, with a leadership group that has doubled in size.

Ben Cunnington, Trent Dumont, Jasper Pittard and youngster Jy Simpkin have been promoted to the eight-man contingent ahead of Rhyce Shaw's first full season in charge.

Jamie Macmillan has retained his place, while Shaun Higgins has been elevated to vice-captain alongside 2019 deputy Robbie Tarrant.

"I reckon it's a really really good group in terms of its diversity," Roos coach Rhyce Shaw said.

"We've got guys that have been there for a period of time and a great crop of first-timers in Trent, Jy, Ben and Jasper who have all put in some real work to better themselves as players, teammates and people."

Saturday, 5 October 2019
Ben Cunnington pays tribute to his family after winning his second Syd Barker Medal.

"That's probably my biggest motivation in life, my little family. Without you guys' support and everything you do for me, I literally couldn't be the man I am today," Cunnington said.

"I love my life and love spending it with you guys – and to Belinda, you're my best mate, you're my rock and I just love doing life with you and appreciate everything you do for me."

Friday, 4 October 2019
Ben Cunnington caps a career-best season with his second Syd Barker Medal as the Kangaroos' club champion for 2019.

Cunnington polled 242 votes and held out fast-finishing defender Robbie Tarrant (227) and Todd Goldstein and Trent Dumont (both 192).

Wednesday, 10 July 2019
North Melbourne caretaker coach Rhyce Shaw says the Kangaroos cannot afford for Ben Cunnington to risk a near-certain suspension should another incident occur following the midfielder's fourth Match Review fine in 2019.

"Ben plays on the edge but he's got to be really disciplined, he knows what's going to happen next if he has one more so we've got to be really careful with that. He knows the importance that he has in our team," Shaw said.

Monday, 8 July 2019
Ben Cunnington is set to walk a fine line for the remainder of the season, with a little-known Match Review clause putting him at risk of a date at the AFL Tribunal.

Cunnington has become the first player to be fined a maximum of $5000 for a 'third and subsequent' offence by the Match Review, having been charged with striking for the fourth time.

Having reached that point, Match Review Officer Michael Christian will now have the option of sending Cunnington directly to the Tribunal based on his cumulative record should he be charged with another offence throughout the remaining seven games of the year.

It means the Tribunal would decide upon Cunnington's punishment based on his series of offences throughout the entire season, rather than just one single charge.

Thursday, 27 June 2019
Ben Cunnington signs a two-year contract extension with North Melbourne to remain at the club until the end of 2022.

The re-signing effectively removes Cunnington from the pool of unrestricted free agents at the end of 2020.

Friday, 5 October 2018
Shaun Higgins claims his second Syd Barker Medal as North Melbourne's best and fairest for 2018.

Higgins polled 240 votes to edge Ben Cunnington by three votes, while Robbie Tarrant finished third on 218.

Friday, 14 April 2017
Ben Cunnington has dropped to improve his running capacity in 2017.

"He's probably always accepted he wasn't the greatest runner, but he's really knuckled down with one of our fitness guys (Jona Segal) and done an enormous amount of work and got a lot fitter," Kangaroos teammate and close friend Jamie Macmillan said of Cunnington.

"It's showing at the minute – he's moving a lot better."

Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Ben Cunnington will miss the Kangaroos' round one clash against West Coast after accepting a one-match ban for kneeing Taylor Duryea.

Duryea was lunging for the ball when Cunnington ran in. Cunnington kept his feet and failed to pull up time to avoid high contact.

"We’re obviously disappointed not to have Ben available for our season opener against the Eagles," Kangaroos football manager Cameron Joyce said.

"But based on the classification handed to us by the MRP and after taking legal advice, there were no solid grounds for us to challenge the charge.

"It's something we deliberated over for much of yesterday and again this morning, but it was decided the risk of losing him for an additional week was too great."

Monday, 14 March 2016
Ben Cunnington will not feature in next year's free agency crop after signing a three-year extension with North Melbourne.

The 24-year-old was already contracted until the end of 2017, but his new deal will see him remain at the club until at the least the end of the 2020 season.

"It's worked out really good for me. I never wanted to leave, and now I won't have to deal with all that free agency stuff (next year) and all the media and speculation that goes with it," Cunnington said.

"I've always been brought up to be loyal in whatever you do, and North has been very good to me. This place is a part of home for me.

"It is a great family club. The culture is really good. I want to be here for as long as I can, and this deal means it will probably end up with me being a one-club player, which is what I've always wanted."

Friday, 9 October 2015
Todd Goldstein has capped a career-best 2015 season by winning his first North Melbourne best and fairest award.

Goldstein won the Syd Barker Medal comfortably from last year's winner Ben Cunnington with former Bulldog Shaun Higgins in third.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015
The AFL Umpires department has conceded it should have rewarded a tackle by Richmond's Shane Edwards during the tense final quarter of Sunday's elimination final against North Melbourne.

With 7.26 left on the clock, Edwards laid a perfect tackle on Kangaroo Ben Cunnington, who disposed of the ball incorrectly after having prior opportunity.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick labeled the non-decision 'diabolical' after his team went down by 17 points.

"Yes it is (holding the ball)," head of AFL umpires Hayden Kennedy said.

"Brett (Rosebury) wasn't in the perfect position with the players in front of him to make that call."

Cunnington admitted to thinking he had given away the free when tackled by Edwards.

"I remember getting the handball receive and I remember a few boys yelling out, 'You're hot'. I just tried to get it on to my boot and kick it as quickly as I could," Cunnington said.

"But the player came across quickly enough that he was tackling me and I thought I was gone once I went to ground.

"You get off the ground a bit slowly but the ball played on, so I was a bit relieved because it definitely would have been a shot on goal."

Tuesday, 13 January 2015
Ben Cunnington could spend more time forward this year as he looks to build on his 2014 best-and-fairest season.

Cunnington wants to hurt opposition teams more on the scoreboard after kicking a career-high four goals against the Western Bulldogs in round 21 last season.

"[If I can] get forward a little more as a midfielder and kick a few more goals this year, I feel I can become more dangerous," Cunnington said.

"I'm looking forward to more challenges this year and stepping up. I feel I can definitely get a lot better so it's exciting, it keeps me motivated."

Saturday, 4 October 2014
Ben Cunnington's emergence as an elite inside midfielder in 2014 has been rewarded with his first North Melbourne best and fairest award.

Cunnington won the Roos' coveted Syd Barker Medal on 47 votes, just one vote ahead of ruckman Todd Goldstein and rejuvenated midfielder Levi Greenwood.

Monday, 27 January 2014
Brent Harvey nominates two young Kangaroos in Ben Cunnington and Shaun Atley to step up in 2014.

"They've taken the next step. Their training has been absolutely elite," Harvey said.

"I think they're just starting to recognise now their position in the football club - not just a player trying to get a game every week.

"Their leadership has been taken to the next level and I think that's where we're going to get our improvement from, those type of guys."

Monday, 7 October 2013
Ben Cunnington and Lindsay Thomas sign new deals with North Melbourne that will keep them at the club until the end of 2017 and 2016 respectively.
Friday, 2 August 2013
Daniel Wells says Ben Cunnington and Jack Ziebell are more than capable of filling the midfield void left by injured North Melbourne skipper Andrew Swallow.

"Everyone at our club knows Ben is a terrific player, we've known that for a long time. But his inside work is now as good as anyone's in the competition," Wells said.

"And Jack is an absolute warrior the way he goes aboutit.

"Those two guys are going to be our two big crash-and-bash bodies around the stoppages and they'll get in there and get their hands dirty"

Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Ben Cunnington looks set to deliver in 2013 after dominating in an intraclub match.

"He played the way he's been training all pre-season so he's starting to do the things that he was doing in under-18 footy," Scott said of Cunnington after the match.

"We've always had great confidence in Ben (and) he's really starting to develop. He's still got a fair way to go – he knows that – but he showed today some of the special things he can do."

Tuesday, 22 November 2011
North Melbourne has protected Ben Cunnington from a potential GWS poaching raid by signing him to a contract that will keep him at the club till the end of 2014.

"I'm rapt, obviously the club has shown heaps of faith with me and I couldn't be happier at North and I want to repay them and stick around for a few more years and hopefully take my footy to the next level," Cunnington said.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Ben Cunnington has been welcomed into North Melbourne's tight-knit defenders group and is thriving down back.

"The back line is definitely a really strong group and has been for a few years now," Cunnington said of the Kangaroos' defence.

"They seem to have accepted me and I'm privileged to be a part of that. Once you get accepted there, they've got your back on the field and off the field. They just help you wherever they can."

Saturday, 18 June 2011
Ben Cunnington says he has developed a rapport with the more senior Daniel Wells at the Kangaroos.

"The times when I'm struggling, he's always the first there to help me out and say, 'Head up'," Cunnington said.

"Around stoppages, I would go to block for him and he would say, 'No, no you go for it'. And if I miss it, straight away he's there going, 'Don't worry about it, get the next one'. If I get it he'll come over when the ball's forward and pat me on the [bum]. Little things like that might not seem much but it's really helping."

Friday, 5 March 2010
North Melbourne assistant coach Darren Crocker says first round draftee Ben Cunnington will play next week's NAB Challenge match.

"He plays and trains with a bit of passion and urgency," Crocker said.

"He knows he's got areas he needs to work on, but you just like to see that in a kid who comes out and isn't overawed by who he's running around with or what he gets thrown into.

"If he applies himself like that, he can't go too far wrong."

Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Second-year Kangaroo Jack Ziebell is already building a strong relationship with first round draft pick Ben Cunnington, his teammate in Vic Country's under-16 side in 2007.

"If I can help him in any way I can, I will try to do that and make him a better player," Ziebell said.

"I knew him pretty well and I was very happy to see him come to North because he was the kind of player we really needed. I'm sure he'll be fantastic for us."

Friday, 8 January 2010
Ben Cunnington's early detection of a hot spot on his right foot has avoided a stress fracture and a longer spell on the sidelines.

"I went home and started to feel a bit of pain in my foot," he said.

"Throughout the pre-season I'd been sore in my knees before, but when you wake up after a sleep you're alright. I woke up and I could still sort of feel it."

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