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Former Carlton, Adelaide star Betts caps off debut season as coach with a premiership


Six-time leading goal kicker, four-time Goal of the Year winner, three-time All-Australian, 350 games, 640 goals.

You can now add premiership coach to the already impressive CV of Eddie Betts.

The former Carlton and Adelaide star had some joy on Sunday when he guided the Ashburton Redbacks to the Yarra Junior Football League (YJFL) Under-11 flag.

Betts’ team overcome the Heidelberg Tigers by seven points after trailing at three-quarter time before kicking a goal with about two minutes left. From there they held on for dear life.

It was the fourth time that ‘Ashy’, who finished the home and away season on top with a record of 11-3, had played Heidelberg in 2023. The Redbacks won by single-figure margins twice before the Tigers responded with a 40-point victory of their own.

The difference was Betts was unable to attend that match as he was presenting at the Logies.

“That loss was a probably a good thing,” Betts told SEN.com.au.

“Heidelberg are a very good side but they might have gone in confident into the Grand Final, and we felt like we were the underdogs.”

It was a full family affair with Betts’ eldest son Lewis captaining the team, lifting the trophy aloft with his dad by his side.

“I have one of our key player’s brothers filming parts of our games, so it’s great to be able to show the kids the footage,” he added.

“I never got to watch myself play juniors so for ‘Lewie’ and the kids to get to watch that back will be pretty special.”

Also in the side was Cruze Davey, the son of Alwyn Davey Snr, and younger brother of Essendon’s twins Alwyn Jnr and Jayden, as well as Tyrone Maher, who is the son of one of Betts’ great mates from Darwin.

Betts as coach continues an Ashburton trend which has seen the likes of Simon Goodwin and Adem Yze coaching their children’s teams over the last decade.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, he has noticed a trend in his coaching career having helped Geelong win last year’s AFL premiership as a part-time development coach.

“I went to Geelong last year and they won the flag, and this year they have gone backwards,” he laughed.

“I took over at Ashy this year and we won the flag!”

With the season now wrapped up, Betts will place more focus on the Eddie Betts Foundation which is now up and running.

The football academy will invite 25 young Indigenous kids from around the country to make their way to Melbourne to play against a representative side. They will also get to train on AFL grounds and will be guests at Fox Footy, where Betts is a broadcaster.

Betts has already seen success with the foundation’s basketball program with an Under-12s side recently claiming the Victorian Statewide Aboriginal Tournament.

The superstar former small forward has not yet made a call on whether he will coach on at Ashburton next year, but admits he “probably will”.

Read more about the Eddie Betts Foundation HERE.




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