....LIBBY SCULLIE WILL ALSO HEAD TO THE AFL GRAND FINAL TO CHEER ON SON IN LAW EDDIE BETTS
Footy fans know him as an onfield magician, who can conjure unlikely goals and spectacular marks.
To Libby and Barry Scullie, Adelaide champ Eddie Betts is all that and so much more, and the Wangaratta couple is rapt their son-in-law has a shot at premiership glory on Saturday.
The Scullies will be alongside their daughter, Anna, and grandsons Lewis (4) and Billy (2) at the grand final, as Eddie and his Crows mates shoot for the club’s first flag since 1998, and Eddie’s first from his 13 years in the AFL.
While Barry has been working in Adelaide and had the chance to attend last Friday’s preliminary final against Geelong, Libby watched the game on TV from Wangaratta, in case youngest daughter Lilly’s second baby arrived on the scene.
“They had so much going for them - at home with that crowd, which is just fantastic,” she said.
“Adelaide is just a huge city for football, I think there’s more hype there even than in Melbourne.
“When the cheers go up for Eddie at that ground, you just tingle all over.”
Eddie has been part of the Scullie family for the past decade, through his years at Carlton and the move to Adelaide, and Libby described him as “just a genuine guy”.
“He’s a calming influence on everyone,” she said.
“He mentors the younger players, and he’s a softie, and a great dad too.”
She said Anna and Eddie’s boys had inherited their dad’s passion and talent for footy.
“The boys play football nonstop,” she said.
“They live opposite a footy oval, and they are always practising the trick shots and kicking into doorways at home.
“They love it to the point where at the end of the day, when they’ve finished playing, they put their arms around each other and sing the song.
“If you ask them who their favourite player is, one of them will say Eddie Betts.
“But I think Eddie Betts and Dad are almost two different people to them.”
Adelaide has lived through its fair share of heartache in recent years, with the deaths of assistant coach Dean Bailey, the tragic loss of coach Phil Walsh, and the recent passing of player Sam Jacobs’ brother.
Libby said the events had galvanised the team as a family, and any success that came its way would be well deserved.
She said Eddie’s role as a mentor, particularly to young indigenous players like Charlie Cameron, who lived with Anna and Eddie for a time, could not be underestimated.
“They call him uncle as a sign of respect, and they really listen to him,” Libby said.
“They have mob night once a week, and they all bring something to eat and have dinner together.”
And, as was highlighted in TV coverage over the weekend, Eddie and Anna have even been able to influence eating habits; commentator Basil Zempilas told the footy audience that Charlie Cameron had never eaten vegetables before moving in with the couple.
Libby said the family had made a smooth transition to life in Adelaide, and worked well as a team.
“I couldn’t be prouder of both of them and what they’ve achieved,” she said.
“People don’t realise what Ed does for the whole community, and the work he does behind the scenes.”
As for Saturday’s match, it will be Libby’s first attendance at an AFL grand final, and what better way to mark it than welcoming a premiership medallion to the family?
“I feel a bit nervous now,” she said.
“We’re going to the grand final parade on Friday, and we’ll take (son) Tom and his daughter Evie, and Anna and the boys, and (eldest son) Paul and his wife will be there for the game too.
“There are going to be so many Richmond fans there, but I think the Crows will win it.
“You saw the emotion for Ed speaking after last week’s win - it just means so much.”
And could there be some Betts magic in store?
“We never take for granted those things he does on the field - he will always come out with something special,” she said.
People don’t realise what Ed does for the whole community, and the work he does behind the scenes. - Libby Scullie
FAMILY FOCUSED: Wangaratta’s Barry Scullie with son-in-law and Adelaide champion Eddie Betts, and Eddie and Anna’s children Billy (2) and Lewis (4).