It’s a long, hard road from the Nullarbor to the MCG.
How does a self-described ‘skinny Aboriginal kid’ overcome a legacy of family tragedy to become an AFL legend? One thing’s for sure: it’s not easy. But then, there’s always been something special about Eddie Betts.
Betts grew up in Port Lincoln and Kalgoorlie, in environments where the destructive legacies of colonialism – racism, police targeting of Aboriginal people, drug and alcohol misuse, family violence – were sadly normalised. His childhood was defined by family closeness as well as family strife, plus a wonderful freedom that he and his cousins exploited to the full – for better and for worse.
When he made the decision to take his talents across the Nullarbor to Melbourne to chase his footballing dreams – homesickness be damned – everything changed. Over the ensuing years, Betts became a true giant of the sport: 350-plus games, 600-plus goals, multiple All-Australian nods and Goal of the Year awards, and a league-wide popularity rarely seen in the hyper-tribal AFL.
Along the way, he battled his demons before his turbulent youth settled into responsible maturity. Today, the man the Melbourne tabloids once dubbed ‘bad boy Betts’ is a dedicated husband and father, a respected community leader and an increasingly outspoken social activist.
Sometimes funny, sometimes tragic and always honest – often laceratingly so – The Boy from Boomerang Crescent is the inspirational life story of a champion, in his own words. Whether he’s narrating one of his trademark gravity-defying goals from the pocket, the discrimination he’s faced as an Aboriginal person or the birth of his first child, Betts’s voice – intelligent, soulful, unpretentious – rings through on every page.
The very human story behind the plaudits is one that will surprise, move and inspire.
It’s a long, long way from the Nullarbor to the MCG and, as plenty of would-be outback superstars have learnt the hard way, talent alone won’t get you there. You also need determination. Self-discipline. Physical and emotional durability. A taste for hard work. Extreme resilience.
Luckily for AFL fans, Eddie Betts III has all those traits in spades.
Talent was never an issue for Eddie, who sprang from a long line of footballing prodigies. (‘He always played deadly,’ his mum says of his dad’s game.) From his earliest years, when he’d hold his own in rough-and-tumble games with his older cousins in Port Lincoln and Kalgoorlie, it was clear he had an abundance of the stuff.
Eddie was originally drafted by Carlton in the 2004 Pre-Season Draft, where he played for nine years before Adelaide signed him as a free agent at the end of 2013. He moved back to Carlton at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Eddie is beloved for the flair and joy of his game, and is the rare player whose popularity transcends tribal club lines.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (August 3, 2022)
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