Former Carlton coach Denis Pagan has recounted the sliding doors moment that saw Eddie Betts land at the Blues in the 2005 pre-season draft.
Speaking to SEN’s The Sporting Capital, Pagan revealed that if it were not for Richmond taking their original draft choice, things may have panned out completely different for the Blues outfit.
“It just seems like yesterday that we drafted him. We were going to rookie list him at first and then we really needed a ruckman,”
“Trent Knobel was going to be our first pick, but he got picked up by Richmond so Betts came into play.
“Eddie was overweight at the time, he’d had a groin injury, there was no disputing his talent and I remember the discussions and we talked about Eddie and we knew he was perhaps underdone, but we took a bit of a punt and it worked out for Eddie and it worked out for the Blues.”
Pagan, who led Carlton from 2003 to 2007, paid tribute to the dynamic small forward and gave an insight into coaching the 32-year-old.
“It’s great to see Eddie get to 300 games, at the time I never would’ve thought it would occur, but it has and good luck to him and I’m really excited for him and his family,” Pagan said.
“He was always coachable. He was such a delightful young man. As a coach, there are some players you warm to, you couldn’t help but warm to Eddie,” he said.
“As he got fitter, stronger, more experienced, he was able to do more and more freakish things, but he’s just a special individual.
“He’s very talented and he’s been able to do it very consistently for a long period of time.”
“I just think it’s an amazing achievement. He’s been able to change the directions of a lot of people’s lives just by the way he plays his football.”
Betts is set to reach the 300-game milestone when the Crows take on the Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval.