Sport AFL Carlton veteran Eddie Betts will retire after his 350th AFL game in the final round of this season

Carlton veteran Eddie Betts will retire after his 350th AFL game in the final round of this season

Eddie Betts
Betts' final game for Carlton will be agains Greater Western Sydney. Photo: AAP
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AFL champion Eddie Betts has confirmed he will retire after playing his 350th game when Carlton take on GWS this Saturday night.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

A beloved champion, the father-of-five will not be short of options as he weighs up his post-playing career future.

“Eddie is one of the game’s most loved characters and he leaves behind an incredible legacy at our club and in our game,” Blues coach David 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.”

It will be the club’s second high-profile retirement in as many weeks after former captain Marc Murphy bowed out after his 300th game on Saturday.

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.