Trending topics

Select your station

We'll remember your choice for next time

Caroline Wilson blasts AFL and AFLPA in first comments on Betts' book


The Age’s Caroline Wilson has commented on the details from Eddie Betts’ biography for the first time.

Wilson, along with fellow journalist Sam McClure, had reported disturbing details of what happeed at the Crows' pre-season camp in the years following. However, in February this year, they apologised and issued retractions on their reporting on the camp, at the behest of their employer.

Both copped plenty of criticism in the aftermath of their apology.

However, Betts’ biography, entitled The Boy from Boomerang Crescent, delves into numerous issues captured in Wilson’s and McClure’s reporting, appearing to suggest the reports were accurate.

There was plenty of fallout from the release of the book on Wednesday. Mark Ricciuto, a club legend who remains Adelaide’s football director, reacted to the news.

“Player welfare is always No. 1, no matter what’s going on,” Ricciuto told Triple M Adelaide.

“You always want everyone to be happy and all that, so it’s very sad that Eddie has written that.

“I think the club’s been on record at times to say that they acknowledged that it wasn’t handled perfectly and had all good intentions, but it didn’t go perfectly.”

However, Wilson blasted those comments.

“It’s obviously devastating, what Mark Riccituo says is so inaccurate,” she said on Nine’s Footy Classified.

“How can you describe some of those revelations as not perfect? They’re horrifying.

“(They say) ‘we’ve moved on from this as a club’, they’ve never moved from it. The AFL will tell you that’s part of the problem.

“And don’t get me started on the AFL. They knew all of this, and they did nothing.”

The next stage of the story is set to centre around the lack of reaction in the aftermath.

Both the AFL and WorkSafe SA investigated at the time and found no violations, but Wilson is resolute action should have been taken.

“It required discipline and a punishment,” she added.

“The AFL is saying to me today they broke no rules. What about bringing the game into disrepute, or conduct unbecoming?

“Surely what we’ve heard from Eddie Betts is bringing the game into disrepute?

“How could they not take action? I know they put measures in place, but that wasn't good enough for me.”

The veteran journalist also saved particular criticism for AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh.

The AFLPA released a statement on Wednesday night suggesting the revelations in Betts’ book were new revelations and the body would investigate further by talking to Adelaide players at the club in 2018.

But Wilson discredited those reports, suggesting she herself informed Marsh of the horrors at the camp and urged him to investigate.

“With the PA, I spoke to Paul Marsh on countless occasions… Paul Marsh, I repeatedly called him over an 18-month period, how he can say he wasn’t aware, I’m shocked by that more than anything,” she stated.

“Taylor Walker, I went to his house in March 2018, and we talked about the camp.

“He liked the camp, but he talked about Indigenous concerns, and he said, ‘I said to my teammates let’s get this Richmond game over and done with (at the time)… and then we'll deal with it’.

“I called Paul Marsh after that and I said, ‘you’ve got to talk to the Indigenous players’, and then I rang him with other allegations, terrible allegations from other players.

“How he can say this now… they (AFLPA) get paid a lot of money, surely their investigative resources are better than that.”

In the biography, Betts suggests the culture changed at the club, which led to many choosing to leave West Lakes.

Six players requested a trade out of Adelaide between 2018 and 2020, while four free agents also left the club.

Marsh spoke to SEN Breakfast on Thursday morning, accepting his body could have tried harder to investigate.

Adelaide Crows

More in AFL