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Laird saddened by Betts' Crows camp recall

3 minute read

Star Adelaide midfielder Rory Laird, who will play his 200th AFL game on Sunday, plans to reach out to former teammate Eddie Betts over his camp revelations.

EDDIE BETTS.
EDDIE BETTS. Picture: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images

Star Adelaide midfielder Rory Laird has expressed his sadness at the distress Eddie Betts felt during the Crows' infamous pre-season camp and plans to reach out to his former teammate and friend when the time is right.

Laird spoke to reporters on Wednesday ahead of his 200th AFL game, with the milestone overshadowed by the bombshell revelations about the trauma Betts felt during the ill-fated camp on the Gold Coast in 2018.

While Laird went on the camp, he was in a different group to Betts and was unable to talk about the specific instances mentioned in the club great's autobiography which detailed instances he felt were culturally and personally insensitive.

"He's such a liked figure, a loved figure, at our club and a respected teammate so it's not great to hear that, obviously, when it traumatises individual personal experiences," Laird said.

"But I think each individual had different experiences and I actually wasn't on that part of the camp, so I can't really comment on the ins and outs.

"But as a former teammate and friend, I don't like hearing that.

"I know how well liked and respected he was and how close he was with a lot of teammates, and I dare say there would've been some conversations (about what went on).

"I personally didn't have them so I can't comment."

In the book, Betts described instances where Indigenous culture was misappropriated and sensitive personal information used against him by the leadership consultancy firm that ran the camp.

Laird said he plans to send his old mate a text to check on him in due course.

The 28-year-old, who will play his 200th match when the Crows face West Coast in Perth on Sunday, was selected as a rookie in 2011 after being overlooked in the national draft due to his 178cm stature.

"I heard (my size) was the reason why a lot of clubs passed on me, it was a time when the prototype was a big inside midfielder, but hopefully I've proved a few people wrong," the two-time All-Australian and dual club champion said.

"It's a huge honour (to play 200 games) and I'm really proud to play them for one club.

"Adelaide gave me a chance as a 17-year-old when I wasn't the biggest fella, I'm still not the biggest fella, but they gave me a chance and hopefully I've repaid them.

"I just want to make my family, friends and the footy club proud and, most importantly, win two on the trot."

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