LEGENDARY small forward Eddie Betts is expected to join Geelong’s coaching staff after recently calling time on his glittering 350-game AFL career.
After losing key assistant coaches Matthew Knights, Corey Enright and Matthew Scarlett this off-season, the Cats have pulled off a genuine coup by securing one of the most influential players of the modern era.
Former Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd, who is the brother of Geelong’s football boss Simon, broke the news on AFL Trade Radio, but the Cats are yet to confirm the appointment.
Betts retired in August with 640 goals after 17 seasons with Carlton and Adelaide and is widely recognised as one of the AFL’s most popular ever figures.
But his impact has not just been felt on the field, in recent years he has been a powerful voice in speaking about race issues in Australia.
The 34-year-old has served as an important mentor for young players over the last decade at Adelaide, and in the last two years after returning to Carlton, the club that drafted him in 2004.
Former Adelaide and Richmond forward Tyson Stengle could earn a third chance in the AFL with the Cats.
“We do have some interest in Tyson and he’s very lucky he’s got a man like Eddie in his corner,” Geelong list manager Stephen Wells told SEN.
Betts is the second Indigenous person to be appointed in a coaching role in as many days after former Melbourne defender Neville Jetta was added to Collingwood’s support staff on Tuesday.
Former Magpies and Geelong star Travis Varcoe, who is now a development coach with the Western Bulldogs, last month pondered why there were not more Indigenous coaches at AFL clubs.
In other coaching news, experienced Bulldogs assistant Ash Hansen is moving on after nine seasons at the Whitten Oval to link up with new Carlton coach Michael Voss.
Hansen, a West Coast premiership player, coached Footscray to a VFL flag in 2016 and for the last five seasons has led the Bulldogs’ forwards in the AFL.
“(Hansen) has coached his own side to a Premiership in the VFL and has delivered impressive results as a line coach – to be able to attract someone of his quality, skillset and experience to our football club is another significant step forward,” Blues football boss Brad Lloyd said.