Eddie Betts didn’t think he’d play more than 50 AFL games when he debuted in 2005.
More than a decade later, the Adelaide livewire admits he’s pinching himself as he prepares to line up for his 250th.
Betts has firmed for All-Australian selection for a second consecutive year after booting 60 goals, many from what adoring Crows fans have dubbed the “Eddie Betts pocket” at Adelaide Oval.
It’s a far cry from his troubled years at Carlton where he struggled for consistency and was arrested in 2009 for being drunk in public following a Christmas party.
“Personally I didn’t think I’d play more than 50 games,” Betts said ahead of the Crows’ clash with Port Adelaide on Saturday.
“I’m very proud of where I’ve come from and to make 250 games is amazing.”
While his three seasons with Adelaide have been arguably the most productive in his career, Betts says the move to West Lakes at the end of 2013 was far from easy to make.
It was partly driven by family reasons and particularly tough on his wife, who had to leave relatives, friends and her job behind.
“When I made the decision to leave Carlton, I went home and I cried for three hours,” Betts said on Wednesday.
“I sat on the bed and I said to myself, ‘Am I making the right choice?’
“After that day finished we just had to move on (and) get over it.
“I thought it would take a while for the crowd to embrace me but we got over here and since day one they embraced me, the footy club embraced me, the players.”
Betts looks back on his first game with Carlton as a nervous 18-year-old and says he still feels the same nerves every time he runs out on the ground.
But he says there was a moment in his first season with Adelaide in 2014 when he knew Crows fans had truly accepted him as one of their own.
“I think it was the (round 15) game when we beat Port Adelaide,” Betts said.
“It was a close game and I kicked a couple of goals down in the pocket and they ended up chanting and cheering.
“I never expected it.”