AFL star Eddie Betts is set to return to football with NTFL team Palmerston Magpies

After 350 matches at the highest level, Eddie Betts, one of the greatest pure goal kickers in Australian football history, has unfinished business of bringing him to the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL).

Betts will make his NTFL debut for the Palmerston Magpies against Southern Districts this weekend.

But in addition to pulling his boots back on for the first time in official competition since retiring, there is a bigger goal for Betts for his Top End trip than football.

“I look forward to going to remote communities up to Arnhem Land,” he said.

“I want kids to go to school, I want kids to graduate, and I want kids to learn to read and write.”

Betts said farms on the field would be secondary in terms of being able to embark on something as important as improving education in remote communities.

“Footy was up for grabs for me,” he said.

“I have always wanted to work in communities. I have always wanted to help Aboriginal children go to school.”

Eddie Betts runs at the Palmerston football oval with three teammates behind him.
Retired AFL star Eddie Betts is set to pull his boots on again for Palmerston this weekend.(ABC News: Myles Houlbrook-Walk)

For Betts, part of his motivation is governed by his own experience.

The first game is expected to attract thousands

Through a career of tremendous performance, Eddie Betts has put together one of the greatest highlights from any individual player in the history of the AFL.

A native AFL football player pumps his fists and smiles after kicking the game's final goal.
Betts played for Carlton and Adelaide from 2005 to 2021.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

In that wheel, one quality shines through: an ability to kick goals from almost anywhere on the field.

Lee Elder of the AFL Northern Territory said the league predicted a large crowd for Betts’ first game on Sunday.

“I’m sure there will be quite a few thousand thereā€¦ I say three to five,” he said.

Among the 640 goals he kicked against Carlton and Adelaide in the AFL, he won the AFL’s award-winning Goal of the Year four times, more than any other player in history.

AFL's big Eddie Betts is chairman after his last match for Carlton, a loss to GWS.
Betts retired from the AFL in August, playing his last game for Carlton against Greater Western Sydney.(Getty Images: Quinn Rooney)

After undergoing his first training session with the Magpies, Betts has already begun to dimension some of the more difficult areas on his new home court from which he can kick goals.

But he will probably have some competition.

“I’m already been told [ex-Essendon player] Alwyn Davey he has every single pocket here, “he said.

“I might have to take one from him. He said, ‘you can rent one.'”


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