EDDIE Betts fronted the media this morning after announcing he will play his 350th and final game this weekend against Greater Western Sydney.
Being in the system for 17 years, Betts has had a stellar career, including a grand final, three 'goals of the year' and three All-Australian selections.
Here's what Betts' had to say on his journey in AFL.
On reaching 350 games:
"To reach 350 games, it’s unbelievable. When you’re growing up, you think about playing AFL and coming through the system, the dream was to play one game of AFL footy, that was the dream and here I am now 17 years later, finishing on 350 games.
"I pinch myself to be honest, just understanding my journey and where I’ve come from and how I got to where I am and what I’ve achieved over those years."
On what he's proudest of:
"My kids, I’ve got five great kids, five wonderful, beautiful, crazy kids. They’ve been brought up in the AFL world, telling Lewis the other day that this is it for me and that was probably the hardest conversation I had to have in some ways, because he broke down in tears. This is his life, he’s grown up in this world.
"Standing up for what I believe in, racism in Australia, watching what Adam [Goodes] went through and what he did and what he received wasn’t nice to see and he gave me that voice and that strength and courage to stand up and stamp out racism here in Australia, call it out when I see it, educate people and that’s something I’m really proud of doing."
On his contract ending:
"I was sad, I wanted to go on, I loved working with the young guys, especially the forwards, Matty Owies, Josh Honey and those boys. I really liked the way that they developed this year so I was a bit disappointed but I was pretty rapt to start the next phase of my career."
On life after footy:
"I believe I’ve got a bigger role to play now and my journey is just beginning. I want to stamp out racism in Australia, I want to make change and I told [the group] I can’t do that by myself, I need their help as well.
"At this stage, I’m working with Coles throughout Australia and within communities, working with Fox Footy, which is really nice and I’ll continue to do that and I’m in the process of starting my own foundation.
"We’re in the process of bringing a team together, helping Aboriginal kids throughout Australia to achieve their goals and their dreams and be leaders in whatever aspect they want to."
On Carlton's success:
"I think they’re not far off. This young list that we have here is so talented, they just have to believe in themselves and play their role. Once everyone plays their role, soon enough this team will get success and I can’t wait to see this team in a couple of years, I’ll still be supporting them and still watching them and the Adelaide Crows."
On racism in the AFL:
"I feel like we’re getting better but I don’t feel like it’s safe at the moment, I honestly don’t. I feel like there’s still a lot of racism and this year there has been a lot of racism and that’s been draining and tiring and every year we see myself and the other Aboriginal boys standing up, trying to call it out and trying to make a stance.
"No one’s born racist, people learn it along the way or heard it somewhere so it comes back to education, starting the conversation, calling it out, it’s the only way we’re going to move forward together as one.
"When I’m done with footy, I’m still going to be there for the rest of the Aboriginal boys who are playing, I’m still going to help them, be a shoulder to lean on and I’ll still call it out. I’ll still try to make change."
On what AFL taught him:
"It taught me to use my voice, to speak up and a lot of help from my wife to speak up and believing what I say and believing in my culture. It’s been a crazy journey, a wonderful journey and I’m going to really, really miss playing AFL.
"Just watching highlights before with all the crowds there and I was kind of getting sad. I walked off Adelaide Oval last week and I bawled my eyes out in the changerooms, the boys were looking at me, they didn’t know I was going to retire.
"I had some fun on that oval, I made that oval kind of my own in a sense and I walked off and I bawled my eyes out, I played for six years with Adelaide there, that oval is pretty special, I’d say it’s the second best oval in Australia apart from the MCG and what we achieved on that oval was special and I’m going to miss it."