"START well."

That was the basis of the last conversation Eddie Betts shared with the late Phil Walsh before the Adelaide coach was tragically killed in 2015.


The pain that Betts and his teammates shared following Walsh's death helped build resilience, and the star forward now commemorates Walsh's last words to him with letters on tape wrapped around his wrist during games. 

07:14 Mins
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Betts' counterattack: 'The only way we can hurt them is smile'

Eddie Betts opens up on racism, resilience and the joy around his return to the Blues

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"If you look at my wrist, I've got my kids names here, and then I've got 'SW' on here and 'SW' means start well," Betts shared on The Bright Side.

"Where that comes from is it was a Thursday afternoon 5 o'clock in the evening and we were all going home and Phil Walsh came up to me and said, 'You need to start well this week. If we get off to a good start this week, no one is going to stop you'.

My wife always says to me, 'Keep smiling. The only way we can hurt them is smile'.

- Eddie Betts

"He gave me a fist bump, and those were the last words that Phil said to me."

Betts had to endure plenty during his time at Adelaide, but he's presented a strong front as a leader and educator to change the landscape around him.

I COP RACISM AT THE SUPERMARKET 'All I want to do is play'

"I've been racially abused in Adelaide for six years and I was the oldest there and I was staying strong for the young Aboriginal boys. They were hurting more than I was," Betts said.

"A lot of these young kids, I believe they do get racially abused but they're just too scared to speak up about it because they think [about] what's going to happen to them."

Betts continues to learn more about different cultures and has brought that passion back to Carlton.

"One of the big things I'm working on at the moment is getting Carlton connected with the Aboriginal community around Victoria to understand whose land we're on, what language groups there is and what tribes we have around here in Victoria," Betts said.

Through all the racist taunts, Betts follows one mantra. 

"My wife always says to me, 'Keep smiling. The only way we can hurt them is smile'."