• Carlton star Eddie Betts has announced his retirement. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Carlton legend has announced his 350th match will be his last, and that he will now turn his attention to combatting racism.
Keira Jenkins

17 Aug 2021 - 2:45 PM  UPDATED 17 Aug 2021 - 3:44 PM

After a stellar 17-season AFL career, Wirangu and Kokatha man Eddie Betts has announced his retirement. 

This weekend's match against GWS at Docklands will be the Carlton star's 350th, and will also be the last before his retirement.

Betts said he feels very fortunate to have played for both Carlton and Adelaide over his 17-year career.

“I pinch myself to be honest," he said.

"Understanding my journey and where I've come from and how I got to where I am and what I've achieved... I sit back and think 'wow'.

"It's pretty exciting and I still can't believe I've played 350 games."

In breaking the news to his team mates that he'd be hanging up the boots, Betts said he was initially 'really sad' that he'd be calling his 350th match the last, but knows he has an important new chapter ahead of him.

"I believe I have a big part to play in the next chapter here in Australia and throughout the AFL industry as well, and that's stamping out racism," he said.

"I'm going to continue to do that, I'm going to continue to try and make change here in Australia and throughout the AFL."

Speaking to the media today, Betts reiterated that sentiment, saying his journey to stamp out racism in the AFL is only just beginning.

"I feel like we're (the AFL community) is getting better, but I don't feel like it's safe at the moment.

"I feel like there's still a lot of racism and this year there has been a lot of racism and it's been draining and it's been tiring.

"Every year we see myself and the other Aboriginal boys standing up trying to call it out, trying to make a stance.

"... We've got to be stronger and we've got to catch these people and hold them accountable for what they say online or over the fence."

There's been an outpouring of support of Betts on social media since speculation of his retirement began, from fellow players, commentators and AFL fans.

Some of the well-wishes online came from young First Nations players that Betts has mentored. 

While they thanked Betts for making a difference to their lives, Betts said he was excited to see how they grow as players.

"We're going to follow these young Aboriginal boys and hopefully they can put on a show," Betts said.

"My time is done... you got these young Aboriginal boys that are exciting, they're the next generation that are going to bring people to the game because they're just so exciting to see what they do."

Carlton coach David Teague also bid Betts farewell, saying he'd certainly made a mark on the club, and the game.

“Eddie is one of the game’s most loved characters and he leaves behind an incredible legacy at our club and in our game,” he 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 Betts will appear tonight on The Point: 7:30pm NITV, 11pm SBS

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