[News] Gillon McLachlan ‘wounded’ by the pain Betts has felt since Adelaide Crows’ 2018 camp

Adelaide coach Matthews Nicks said on Friday that he will reach out to Betts, and committed to providing support to the club great and anyone else adversely affected by the camp.

McLachlan said he had been in regular contact with Betts and had been emotionally hurt by what had transpired.

“I am wounded when anyone of our players, especially senior indigenous people, have been in a situation like this, are wounded. I am sorry that our broader infrastructure has failed them. In terms of the public nature of that, I heard Ed [say] that it would help in his journey if that was public … I am very happy to do it. We are sorry for the broader failings.”

Betts, now retired and an assistant coach at Geelong, detailed the incident in which he was told he would be a “shit father” because he was raised only by his mother in his book, The Boy from Boomerang Crescent. The book also details other incidents from the camp.

McLachlan said he had known for “some time” what had occurred at the camp but admitted there were “different interpretations”.

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Veteran Crow Rory Sloane said some players had been bored on the camp, while others had enjoyed it. He maintains he returned as a better husband, father and son.

Betts maintains he felt “brainwashed” after the camp, and he was told to stay silent.

The AFL Players Association has admitted to failures in its investigation of the camp, while Adelaide lawyer Greg Griffin, who specialises in sports law, has told The Age he had discussed a potential class action against the AFL and the Crows.

Nicks, who replaced Don Pyke as senior coach after Betts had departed for Carlton after the 2019 season, said he was upset by his harrowing account.

“I was saddened to see how Eddie, and others, were affected so I’ll continue to reach out to the players and staff that were here at the time,” Nicks said.

“There’s not many that were but there were some so I’ll continue to reach out to them. I’ll reach out to Eddie and some past players over the coming weeks just to see how they’re going because it’s sad to see players affected that way.

“This is a moment where we want to do the right thing, we’re working on prioritising others, which has been my motto since I arrived here … and part of that involves trust and part of that is putting others first.”

Nicks revealed that he had addressed the players about the issue and checked in with individual players and staff, with none reporting any lingering distress.

“That’s not to say that there aren’t any out there [who are],” he said. “We made sure that we sat down with the group, footy department staff and players, to just put it out there that the support is here if you need it.”

With AAP

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