AFL star Eddie Betts tells children to stay in school, listen to their elders at Murray Bridge Library

No-one can kick a goal of the year from the pocket quite like Eddie Betts, but his skill on the field hides a lingering challenge off it.

He could not read or write when he was drafted into the Australian Football League, and did not know what he was signing when he put pen to paper on his first professional contract.

The teenaged forward took a three-year literacy and numeracy course soon after that, and has since been inspired to share his struggle in a series of children's books.

So it was Eddie Betts, author, who read My Kind to a booked-out crowd of young footy fans and their parents at Murray Bridge Library this afternoon.

He urged his audience to stay in school and graduate, to listen to their teachers and parents, and to treat everyone with kindness.

"I'm kind, I treat everyone equally, I respect everyone, I respect my elders," he said.

"It really resonated with me, writing this book, because that's who I am as a person.

"Treating everyone equally, looking after the environment, picking up rubbish - these are all key messages that we can do in our everyday lives."

He also took questions from the crowd about which of his four goals of the year he liked best - the 2016 one against GWS - how he snapped goals so effectively - he didn't know, but youth coaches blamed him when no one wanted to practise goal-kicking from out in front any more - and, of course, about his playing future.

Nothing had happened yet, he said: he was still at the Crows, not Carlton, "but we'll have to wait and see".

"If something does happen and a trade does get done, and I eventually move back to Carlton, it's going to be really tough ... because of missing people like you," he said.

"You guys have made me who I am.

"You chant my name, you get up and about when I get the ball and kick a goal, and if eventually something happens, I'm gonna miss you guys dearly."

Playing footy was one of the best jobs in the world, he said, but also one of the toughest, especially given the scrutiny players received from the media.

"But in saying that, I love playing footy and I'll play til my body will tell me to stop."

Comments