Player power: ‘We want Eddie back’
CARLTON coach David Teague says player power had a critical role in the club's recruitment of Eddie Betts as the Blues cult hero returned to Ikon Park training on Wednesday.
And he revealed that the Blues would have secured a Shaun Burgoyne-style veteran if they had missed securing Betts.
The former Crow trained with Carlton's younger players on Wednesday, two weeks ahead of schedule, adamant he can make an impact despite many believing he is past his best.
Stream over 50 sports Live & On-Demand with KAYO SPORTS on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Just $25/month, no lock-in contract. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >
Teague, in his first summer as full-time coach, said the Carlton list-management group had not been as split over Betts' recruitment as many had suggested.
"I was keen. We were looking to add a bit of small forward talent in our group and Eddie brings that but he brings so much more," Teague said.
"He brings a lot off field, he will be a great leader for this group.
"I know some of the older guys were like, 'Get him back, we want him back'.
"They want him at this footy club, the fans want him back and when he said he wanted to come back and wanted to enjoy his footy, it was something I thought it would work well and his performance on-field as well as the leadership will work well for us.
"I have heard some of the media reports but we challenge every decision.
"There are really good football brains there and it would be boring if we were all the same
There wasn't a lot of debate around it. It was more on our strategy going forward."
Teague said the Blues were aware he didn't perfectly fit into the youth-led resurgence but added so much more than the 37 goals he kicked in 2019.
"Is he part of the youth going forward? No, but he brings leadership and it was something we needed and it was an area we needed to continue to grow.
"If it wasn't Eddie we would have got a Shaun Burgoyne or someone like that who would have helped our leadership.
"The fact I had a relationship with him made it easier to get him here, but we are excited to have him."
Teague backed in Charlie Curnow's ability to play basketball in the off-season despite him needing surgery on his patella after standing on a player's foot.
He said he wanted his players to live their lives, happy Curnow's knee had buckled in October rather than late in the summer.
The Blues had told him to test his knee out, and while it failed that test he has had surgery that will allow him to run before Christmas.