Eddie Betts will swap the Crows for the Blues in 2020.
Eddie Betts will swap the Crows for the Blues in 2020.

Betts a Blue again in ‘fairytale ending’

EDDIE Betts has returned to the club where he started his AFL career, finalising a "fairytale ending" move to Carlton after five years at the Adelaide Crows.

The three-time All Australian and four-time goal of the year winner was this afternoon unveiled as a Blue once again, in a romantic reunion for the Crows fan favourite.

Upon arriving in Melbourne on Monday, Betts said it would be a "fairytale ending" for his career.

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Despite being offered a lucrative two-year contract by the Gold Coast Suns, Betts has inked a one-year deal to return to Carlton.

Betts said Adelaide had welcomed him and his family and believed he had set a legacy at the Crows for future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players.

"The past six years have been some of the best and toughest of my football career but I am proud of the person and leader I was able to become at the Crows," he said.

"I have developed so many important friendships with people here in Adelaide and there are lots of people to thank, such as my teammates and AFLW players, as well as the coaches, fans and supporter groups, staff and trainers.

Eddie Betts in one of his final games for the Crows (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Eddie Betts in one of his final games for the Crows (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

"I am proud of the legacy I will leave here for future Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander players and hope that the community we set for ourselves inside the Club stays strong and connected."

The Crows will pay some of Betts' salary in the deal, which will allow the small forward to return to Melbourne to be closer to his partner's family in Wangaratta, and will receive a future fourth round selection for allowing Betts to return to the Blues.

This will free up significant salary cap space for a player who may have struggled to play regular senior footy in 2020, with the Crows keen to give more opportunities to Tyson Stengle and Shane McAdam.

Betts was controversially dropped to the SANFL for a game during the 2019 season, at the height of the Crows struggles.

This, and the appointment of David Teague to the Blues job, sparked speculation that Betts could seek to return to Melbourne and the Blues.

He did not officially request a trade from Adelaide, but signalled an intent to return to his former club and the Crows decided to do right by the cult hero.

Crows list manager Justin Reid said few players were as talented and popular as Betts, who had the forward pockets at Adelaide Oval dubbed as "Eddie's pocket".

"He has given our members and supporters so much to cheer about and produced some moments of absolute brilliance and no one will ever forget 'Eddie's Pocket' at Adelaide Oval," Reid said.

"Eddie has been such an important part of our forward line in recent years, and has consistently hit the scoreboard and brought teammates into the game with a selfless approach.

"He has also opened up his home and helped encourage and guide the next generation of indigenous players, while his work in the wider community has ensured he is a role model for all ages.

"Eddie, Anna and their children Lewis, Billy, Alice and Maggie will always be part of the Crows family and we wish them the very best with their move back to Victoria and for the years ahead."

Betts contentiously walked out as a free agent on Carlton six seasons ago as they instead handed a lucrative contract to Dale Thomas.

Now, at 32, there is a realisation Betts is no longer the superstar on the field he was, but the Blues said this week he would be great from a cultural standpoint, given his leadership and popularity.

He kicked 37 goals this season but 12 of those came in two games against Gold Coast.

He believes he can reinvigorate himself at the Blues, and from their view, it is a low-risk investment.

He is expected to result in a spike in Carlton memberships in one of footy's most popular moves.

Betts kicked 310 goals in 132 games for the Crows.