AFL native Eddie Betts joins Geelong coaching staff | AFL
Legendary little forward Eddie Betts has joined Geelong’s coaching staff after recently ending his glittering 350-game AFL career.
After losing top assistant coaches Matthew Knights, Corey Enright and Matthew Scarlett this offseason, the Cats pulled off a real blow in getting one of the most influential players of the modern era.
Betts retired in August with 640 goals after 17 seasons with Carlton and Adelaide and is widely recognized as one of the AFL’s most popular figures for his bizarre skills and charismatic nature.
But his impact hasn’t only been felt on the pitch, in recent years he’s been a powerful voice in speaking about race issues in Australia.
The 34-year-old has been an important mentor to young players over the past decade at Adelaide and the past two years after returning to Carlton, the club that drafted him in 2004.
Former Adelaide and Richmond forward Tyson Stengle could be offered a third chance in the AFL with the Cats and Betts.
“Geelong is known for developing people and it is also an exciting element to join the club,” Betts said. I look forward to working with the roster, especially the younger players, and helping them develop on and off the pitch.
“It’s important for players to develop skills in all aspects of your life. Obviously I’m going to be spending time with the forwards, especially the small forwards, but I hope to cross all the spaces on the pitch where the club sees they need me.
Betts considered staying at Carlton, but it is understood that he thought it would be difficult to coach former teammates so soon after his retirement.
He is the second native AFL figure to be named coach in as many days after former Melbourne defender Neville Jetta was added to Collingwood’s support staff on Tuesday.
Former Magpies and Geelong star Travis Varcoe, who is now a development coach with the Western Bulldogs, wondered last month why there weren’t more native coaches at AFL clubs. .
Geelong football boss Simon Lloyd has said everyone at the Cats is delighted to welcome Betts on board for the role, which he will begin in January.