CARLTON veteran Eddie Betts will bring to an end one of the game’s great careers at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

The Club held discussions with Betts over the last few weeks, with the decision ultimately made that he would not be offered a new contract, a decision Betts has been accepting of and is now very much relieved to start the next chapter of his life.

This announcement has been made before the end of the season in order to allow the Carlton faithful and the game as a whole to appropriately celebrate arguably the most likeable player and person to grace the game.

Drafted at pick No.3 in the 2004 NAB AFL Pre-Season Draft, Betts went on to make his debut in Round 1, 2005 against North Melbourne.

An innate playmaker with an ability to find the goals under impossible circumstances, Betts quickly became a fan favourite amongst both the Carlton faithful and the Adelaide Crows.

Seventeen years on and now as one of the game’s greatest small forwards, Betts will hang up his boots and renowned baggy shorts having played a total of 350 games across 17 seasons – 11 at Carlton and six at Adelaide.

He has always been capable of the remarkable on the football field, proven by the fact he has been awarded Goal of the Year an unprecedented four times - 2006, 2015, 2016 and 2019.

The three-time All Australian and Life Member of the Carlton Football Club thanked the Blues’ and Crows’ loyal members and fans and all those who had supported him over his 17-year journey.

“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.

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“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.”

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.  

He sits comfortably amongst, if not at the top, of the greatest small forwards to ever play the game.

However, despite his unending list of accolades, Betts’ impact on the game across nearly two decades is arguably more profound off the field as it is on it.

A deeply selfless and caring human being, Betts has never wavered from speaking out and being the voice for those who do not feel like they have one, particularly around the ever-prevalent issue of racism in society.

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Senior Coach David Teague said it is that legacy, alongside his mercurial ability on the football field, that will see Betts long 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.”