Carlton and Adelaide champion Eddie Betts has claimed yet another honour to add to his already outstanding list of accomplishments, crowned the 2021 AFL Players’ Association Madden Medallist.
The Madden Medal, presented by The Diamond Guys, is awarded to the retiring player who has best demonstrated on-field excellence, personal development and growth, as well as community spirit over the course of their playing career, and is named after former AFLPA Presidents, Simon and Justin Madden.
Betts received the award ahead of a strong field of nominees, including Bachar Houli, Neville Jetta, Shaun Burgoyne, and Marc Murphy.
The other nominees for the award were Nathan Jones, Jarrod Harbrow, Easton Wood and Grant Birchall.
Betts started his career at the Blues after being drafted at pick No.3 in the 2004 NAB AFL Pre-Season Draft, before leaving for Adelaide at the end of 2013. He played 132 games for the Crows between 2014-19, before returning to Carlton for the final two years of his career.
Betts retired a three-time All Australian, Indigenous All Star, International Rules representative and AFL Life Member, following a glittering 350-game career which spanned 17 years.
Known for his flair on the field, Betts was awarded the Goal of the Year four times and was the leading goal-kicker at Carlton and Adelaide twice and four times, respectively. He finished his career with a total of 640 goals – inside the top 30 of VFL/AFL all-time goal-kickers.
A fan favourite, Betts will be remembered for his ability to find the goals under impossible circumstances, capable of the remarkable and with the ability to send any crowd into a frenzy.
However, despite his prowess on the field, Betts’ impact on the game across nearly two decades is arguably more profound off the field.
Betts has built a legacy fighting against racism, building better support for players, and advising on the importance of anti-racism initiatives. He has been a member of the AFLPA Indigenous Advisory Board, has played a key role as part of Carlton’s RAP Working Group and has advised on Carlton’s cultural learning strategy.
He is currently working to make a difference for the next generation, through the creation of Eddie’s Lil’ Homies, a series of educational books to help children read with confidence and understand acceptance and equality.
Continuing his involvement in football since retirement and in line with his passion for education and growth, Eddie has moved into a development coaching role with the Geelong Football Club. He has also appeared as a media presenter on Fox Footy, as well as providing consultation and guest speaking services for organisations.
A more than worthy winner of the Madden Medal, Betts’ impact on not only the football landscape, but wider society, will be felt for years to come.
- 350 games (218 games Carlton, 132 games Adelaide)
- 640 goals (330 goals Carlton, 310 goals Adelaide)
- 4 x Goal of the Year award-winner (2006, 2015, 2016, 2019)
- 2 x Carlton leading goal-kicker (2010, 2012)
- 4 x Adelaide leading goal-kicker (2014-2017)
- 3 x All Australian (2015-2017)
- 7 x International games for Australia
- Carlton Best First Year Player (2005)
- Legacy around the fight against racism, advising on the importance of anti-racism initiatives and ways to support players
- Developed Eddie’s Lil’ Homies – a series of educational books (which will also be made into a cartoon) to help children read with confidence and understand acceptance and equality
- Member of Carlton’s RAP Working Group
- Advised on Carlton’s cultural learning strategy
- Assisted in preparing Carlton’s NAIDOC Week internal player event
- Member of AFLPA Indigenous Advisory Board
- Represented Carlton in acknowledging the Sir Doug Nicholls Round Honouree