A huge loss to all AFL fans, with legend Eddie Betts officially calling time on his illustrious 17-year career.
The Carlton veteran’s been told he won’t be offered a new contract after this season, so he’s preparing to hang up the boots after his 350th game this weekend.
Betts was drafted at Pick No.3 in the 2004 NAB AFL Pre-Season Draft and went on to debut in Round 1, 2005 against North Melbourne.
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17 seasons later, 11 at the Blues and six at the Crows, he leaves the game as one of its legends, known as one of the greatest small forwards in history.
A two-time leading goalkicker with the Blues and four with the Crows, Betts is the third-highest goalkicker in the history of the Adelaide Football Club and has kicked the most goals of any Indigenous player to wear the Navy Blue.
“To my family, my former and current teammates, coaches and staff at both Carlton and Adelaide and to the members and fans of both clubs, thank you for your support,” Betts said in a statement overnight.
“It’s been an honour to run around the footy field for 17 seasons. I’ve had an unbelievable career and I’ve enjoyed every minute playing the game that I love and sharing it with so many along the way. I feel very fortunate to have been able to give it my all, both at Carlton and at Adelaide.”
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A champion on the football field, sure, but Eddie’s work off the field will inspire generations of athletes, sporting professionals and society alike thanks to his determination to speak for those who feel they don’t have a voice, and consistently tackle the ever-prevalent issue of racism both in the game and out.
Senior Coach David Teague says Eddie will long be remembered as a champion, not only of the Carlton and Adelaide Football Clubs, but the game as a whole.
“Eddie is one of the game’s most loved characters and he leaves behind an incredible legacy at our club and in our game,” Teague said.
“He has had a significant impact both on and off the field throughout an unbelievable career, of which I’m honoured to have been a part of, both as a teammate and a coach.
“To have him impart his experience and wisdom on to our younger players over the last two years has been great for our entire group.
“Eddie is loved by everyone, whether you’re a Carlton person or not, that tells you all you need to know about the mark this man has left on our game.
“On behalf of everyone at the Carlton Football Club, we wish Eddie all the very best.”