Without a doubt, the return of the irrefutable dynamic footy player, Mr Eddie Betts, has been met with mixed reactions, but on the whole, ones that are positive at the very least. If you watch the videos that Carlton has put online, you cannot help but be moved by what this means not only to him but the club and its supporters. I for one was devastated when he left and I put my jumper with his number on the back, in a cupboard and swore never to wear it again and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Now with his return, the number 19 has more significance than ever before. For those that disagree or think that his return is wrong, here’s my view and I hope those that disagree, will see my point.
Eddie Betts is a dynamic, electric and very charismatic person, on the field and off-field. What he can bring to a game is mind-boggling and one that inspires players and also supporters. He can perform the unattainable goal of, well the unattainable goal. He can direct, determine and influence not only the game but his team-mates. He has the rare ability in any sporting world to be that bloody nuisance player that you want to tame, and it may work for some of the time, but not all of the time; and when he does what you know he is capable of doing, you sit back, shake your head and as Sydney Stack did this year, have to shake his hand. That is what Eddie Betts is capable of doing on the field, but his off-field performance is one that is on equal footing.
When Yarran left, then Garlett, neither actually fulfilled their potential. There were glimpses of what they were capable of, but they never really hit their mark and sadly, both have been lost to the footy world. Eddie Betts is one of these people who wears his Indigenous background with pride and understands the pitfalls and the peaks that plague his fellow Indigenous players. He understood and supported both Yarran and Garlett, with his absence, both faltered.
His past, his growth and who he has become, is one that will enable him to mold, encourage, and be that empathetic senior player who can be that mentor to other younger Indigenous players. What he will be able to give to these players is one that no-one else can really give, because he has run the gamut of the lows and highs of footy life as an Indigenous player. His infectious persona is one that you just cannot help but admire and play along with. His quiet determination to be the best he can possibly be and yet be that person that can be relied upon is one that is, well, priceless in the footy world.
Eddie Betts is now part of the AFLW Carlton team’s coaching personnel and one can only imagine what he will bring not only to the women’s team but to the men’s as well. Yes, he is in his thirties, but one of Carlton’s greats (and my all-time favorite player) Craig Bradley was 38 when he retired. He is the same type of player, same physique – who knows how long Eddie Betts can continue to play in the Navy Blue?
Carlton gave up their future 4th-round pick for him and Adelaide will pay part of his current contract for one year. He is on a year contract and just as with Simmo, his future will be determined by season 2020 and himself.
His return to the Carlton FC is the sporting stuff of magic because he has the ability to inspire, motivate and understand the game, the players and himself. Why wouldn’t you celebrate this? I am.
#WELCOME BACK EDDIE!