Legendary little forward Eddie Betts has joined Geelong’s coaching staff after recently having time for his stellar 350-game AFL career.
Most important points:
- Former Adelaide and Carlton little forward Eddie Betts retired this season
- Geelong list manager Stephen Wells says club is looking at Tyson Stengle
- Bulldogs assistant Ash Hansen moves to Carlton to connect with Michael Voss
After losing key assistant coaches Matthew Knights, Corey Enright and Matthew Scarlett this off-season, the Cats have staged a real coup by securing one of the most influential players of modern times.
“Geelong is a successful club with a wonderful culture that has always been strong, and I can’t wait to get involved,” Betts said in a statement from Cats.
“I’m excited to support the club and I’m looking forward to growing myself.
“Geelong is known for developing people and that is also an exciting element of joining the club.
“I look forward to working with the playlist, especially the younger players, and helping them develop both on and off the pitch.
“Of course I will spend some time with the attackers, especially the small attackers, but I hope I can reach all the places on the pitch where the club sees that they need me.”
Betts retired in August with 640 goals after 17 seasons with Carlton and Adelaide, and is widely recognized as one of the most popular figures in AFL history.
But his impact has not only been felt on the pitch. In recent years he has been a powerful voice in speaking on race issues in Australia.
The 34-year-old has been a key mentor to young players in Adelaide for the past ten years and the last two with Carlton, the club that appointed him in 2004.
“Eddie has seen the game from every angle, starting on the rookie roster and growing into one of the game’s best and most influential figures,” said Simon Lloyd, Geelong’s general manager of football.
“His knowledge, wisdom, leadership and experience will be a great asset to our team.
“Eddie is a great communicator and he is delighted to be working with our players, Chris and our coaching staff, and everyone involved with the club.
“We are equally excited that he has chosen to join our club.”
Betts’ move means former Adelaide and Richmond forward Tyson Stengle could earn a third chance in the AFL with the Cats.
“We have some interest in Tyson and he is very lucky to have a man like Eddie in his corner,” Geelong list manager Stephen Wells told SEN.
Betts is the second Indigenous person to be appointed as 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 – asked last month why there weren’t more native coaches at AFL clubs.
In other coaching news, veteran Bulldogs assistant Ash Hansen moves on after nine seasons at the Whitten Oval to connect with new Carlton coach Michael Voss.
A West Coast Premiership player in 2006, Hansen coached Footscray to a VFL flag in 2016 and has led the Bulldogs forward in the AFL for the past five seasons.
“[Hansen] has coached his own side to a premiership in the VFL and delivered impressive results as a line coach – to be able to bring someone of his quality, skills and experience to our football club is another significant step forward,” Blues football boss Brad Brad said Lloyd .