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Eddie to fly for Crows till 2020

Football

UPDATED: The Crows’ 2017 campaign has started on a high with star small forward Eddie Betts inking a new three-year deal.

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One of the competition’s most prolific goal-scorers and great entertainers, Betts has been in incandescent form for the Crows since crossing from Carlton as a free agent three years ago – in a reputed $500,000-a-season four-year deal that many considered exorbitant.

But he has reached new career heights, playing every game and topping Adelaide’s goalkicking in each of the ensuing three years.

His career-high 75 goals last season – which saw him finish third in the Coleman Medal – saw him earn a second successive All Australian selection.

The new contract, after the final year of his current deal, will see the 30-year-old entertain the Adelaide Oval crowds – including on the north-eastern pocket he has unofficially made his own – until the end of the 2020 season.

Betts told media today he was surprised to buck the trend of clubs offering rolling one-year deals to veterans.

“It was a bit odd because I don’t think the Crows had ever offered a 30-year-old three years [but] they approached me and asked ‘how long can you play for’ and I said ‘probably another three years’,” he revealed.

But he conceded there was “no chance” he would have gone elsewhere, saying: “I grew up barracking for the Adelaide Footy Club and I’ll end my career here.”

“It was a no-brainer,” he said.

“I love the club, love the supporters and the coaches and the coaching staff.

“Playing finals footy is what it is all about and after experiencing that the last couple of years I know this playing group is capable of much more.”

Betts has played 253 career matches, including 170 with the Blues, for 479 goals (189 with the Crows).

General Manager of List Management and Strategy Justin Reid said Betts was “an elite player who had developed into an influential leader on and away from the football field”.

“Everyone knows that Eddie is a special talent but he also understands and contributes to our team-first approach and culture,” Reid told the club’s website.

“His durability is testament to the way he trains and prepares, and he has a clear picture of where we are heading and wants to continue on the journey.”

Betts remains the cornerstone of Adelaide’s small forward set-up, but there is a host of contenders lining up in the wings. He revealed one of those, 2016 debutant Wayne Milera, had endured a frustrating start to 2017.

“Wayne is still off the track… he’s had a slight setback with his knee but he’s coming back into drills, which is great,” he said.

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