Nine-year-old twins Wyatt and Phrasswell had never kicked a footy a year ago.
When teacher Pam Ryles showed them a few clips of Eddie Betts on YouTube, AFL became a near-instant obsession.
“Phrasswell just reminded me a little of Eddie Betts, so I thought maybe they’d be interested, knowing that they’d never had experience with football.”
She was right, and soon the boys were asking to send letters to the Adelaide Crows star, which led to an unforgettable meeting in May.
At that point, they’d still never played a game or had a kick around the oval.
“He showed us how to kick the football,” said Phrasswell.
They later had the opportunity to run onto the field as team mascots during a home game, in front of a crowd of about 50,000 people.
“It was a really big crowd, it was loud, too,” said Phrasswell.
Both boys described the experience as life-changing.
“It was the best thing of my life,” said Wyatt.
“It felt like a miracle,” Phrasswell added.
Since that first kick with Betts, the twins have joined their local AFL team, Morphett Vale Football Club.
Coach James Emmerson says they have picked up the skills quickly.
Twins Phrasswell and Wyatt with their teammates at Morphett Vale Football Club in Adelaide. SBS
“From the first training, they really kicked off, and just seeing their love for the footy, it’s amazing,” he says.
When asked about the best part of playing AFL, the boys struggle to decide.
“It’s pretty cheering,” says Phrasswell. “Lots and lots of cheering.”
“And training in the rain,” says Wyatt.
“And we get to meet all the friends,” adds his brother.
Mrs Ryles, a teacher at Pimpala Primary School in Adelaide, says the boys have faced challenges in their life and she had hoped a story like Eddie’s would provide inspiration.
“They don’t have a lot of the same opportunities that other children have, and life experiences, and to see these boys grow in confidence, smiles on their faces, want to come to school.”
The self-confessed Crows fan says Eddie’s willingness to meet and help the boys, despite the request coming out of the blue, is a gesture she won’t forget.
“Eddie, to me, is your real life superhero.”
The twins and their hero – Eddie Betts.Supplied