Carlton veteran Eddie Betts officially calls it quits after remarkable AFL career

Shayne Hope and Oliver CaffreyThe West Australian
Eddie Betts will play his final game this weekend.
Camera IconEddie Betts will play his final game this weekend. Credit: Darrian Traynor/via AFL Photos

AFL champion Eddie Betts has confirmed he will retire after playing his 350th game when Carlton take on GWS this week.

Betts, 34, indicated earlier this month he was enjoying his football in his second stint with the Blues and felt capable of continuing into an 18th season.

But the mercurial goal sneak, who wowed fans around the country, will now end his playing days in front of empty stands at Marvel Stadium.

From a prison cell to AFL glory: How Betts overcame the odds to carve out stellar career

Betts announced the end of his dazzling career via Instagram on Monday night, coming after a draining period for the Indigenous champion where he has again laid bare the pain caused by his ongoing fight against racism.

“Thanks for sticking by me through the highs and lows,” Betts wrote, while including pictures of him playing for Carlton and Adelaide.

Eddie Betts acknowledges the support from Blues fans.
Camera IconEddie Betts acknowledges the support from Blues fans. Credit: Darrian Traynor/via AFL Photos

“I hope at some point in my career I was able to put a smile on your face. If I did, I’m happy and my work is done here.

“To all the people who played a part in my career, it could never be done on my own.

“My family, back home for teaching and raising me that it’s always important to look out for others and be selfless in the way we go about things.”

A three-time All-Australian, Betts has kicked 638 goals with Carlton and Adelaide, and will become the 19th player in AFL/VFL history to reach 350 games.

He returned to the Blues in 2020 after six seasons with the Crows, where he lit up Adelaide Oval and kicked a series of remarkable goals from a corner of the ground that became known as ’Eddie’s Pocket’.

Betts has kicked 33 goals in 38 games in his second stint with Carlton, including 25 in 13 games this season, but was held goalless in Sunday’s horror 95-point defeat to Port Adelaide.

Eddie Betts was a fan favourite during his time with Adelaide.
Camera IconEddie Betts was a fan favourite during his time with Adelaide. Credit: Cameron Spencer/AFL Media/Getty Images/AFL Photos

Betts signed a one-year contract for the 2021 season in a deal that included the veteran being downgraded to the rookie list.

He will turn 35 in November and Carlton have floated the possibility of Betts filling an off-field coaching or mentor role at the club.

“He brings a lot to this football club,” coach David Teague said earlier this month.

“Whether that’s as a player or not next year, we’d love to have him involved.

“Personally, and from a club point of view, we’d love to have Eddie involved with us for the next five to 10 years.

“He’s such a great mentor, such a great help not only for our small forwards but also from an Indigenous point of view.”

The Carlton-GWS clash could also be Teague’s last in charge of the Blues.

The club’s board is considering the recommendations of the wide-ranging external review commissioned by incoming president Luke Sayers.

Teague said last week he expects the board to hand down a decision on his coaching future after the Blues’ final match of the season.

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