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Eddie still the Betts

Katrina Gill  August 30, 2017 10:00 PM

Eddie Betts: All Australian Eddie Betts has earned selection in the 2017 All Australian Team. Have a look at some of his highlights from the year
AFL 2017 Round 20 - Adelaide v Port Adelaide

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Eddie Betts of the Crows celebrates a goal during the 2017 AFL round 20 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Adelaide Oval on August 06, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)

I guess it’s probably because I’ve set a high standard for myself

His own toughest critic, Eddie Betts wasn’t sure he’d be included in the 40-man All Australian squad, let alone the team, for Season 2017.

On Wednesday night, Betts received his third straight All Australian nod, named in a forward pocket.

Statistically, the brilliant forward’s numbers (possessions, marks, tackles and assists) this season are nearly identical to last year.

He’s had more disposals in attacking 50m than any other player, and ranks third in the League for goal assists, score assists and forward 50m tackles.

Betts has kicked fewer goals (49) from one less game compared to this time last year (66).

This is partly explained by a drop off in accuracy from a pacesetting 70.8 per cent last year to 62 per cent this season.

Also, goalkicking is down across the board – Sydney Swans star Lance Franklin claimed the Coleman Medal with 69 goals – 11 fewer than West Coast spearhead Josh Kennedy’s return (80) in 2016.

Betts finished in equal-sixth place in the Coleman Medal standings this season, the highest-ranked small forward.

“I didn’t really think I was going to make the squad let alone the team compared to the last two seasons I’ve played,” Betts said.

“I guess it’s probably because I’ve set a high standard for myself.

“It’s obviously a great individual award. I’m very excited and honoured to be in the team again.”

Betts was selected in the squad but overlooked for the final team three times (2011, 2012 and 2014) before finally receiving an All Australian blazer in 2015.

The fan favourite said he was humbled to have another year emblazoned on his All Australian jacket.

“I was a bridesmaid or a groomsman, whatever they call it, a few times!” he said.

“You take your jacket along and they stitch each year on your jacket.

“You don’t get three jackets, so I don’t have three sitting at home!”

Betts was named alongside Adelaide teammates Rory Laird and Matt Crouch in the 2017 team.

Small defender Laird has the challenge of standing Betts at training and agreed the elusive forward was the best going around.

“He (Betts) is a nightmare to play on, to put it quite frankly!” Laird said.

“You’ve got to watch him the whole time. As a defender, you can’t watch the ball or see where it’s coming from because you’re so worried about Eddie.

“He does it on the ground, he does it in the air, he does it from the pocket and he does it from set shots – it’s a full range of weapons that he’s got!

“I can just say I’m happy that he’s on my team.

“I think it’s the sixth time he’s been nominated (for All Australian) which is a credit to him.

“He’s consistent, a high-quality player and the best small forward in the comp.”