EXPLAINING Jesse Motlop's ambition to be an AFL player is simple. The son of former Port Adelaide and Kangaroos forward Daniel, Jesse has lived and breathed footy since he knew it, with the small forward a potential top-20 pick at next month's NAB AFL Draft.
Explaining his other life goal – to be a film director – is perhaps a little more difficult.
"It's a bit weird, actually. I don't know how it came about. There's never been any film people in my family, but I always grew up and loved watching my movies and TV shows and I still do to this day," Motlop told AFL.com.au.
"The idea of writing storylines is appealing and I've seen a few filmmakers and directors and that idea has always excited me. It's one of my passions along with footy, so if I could do that in the future, that would be a pretty cool dream."
PURE excitement and x-factor.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) November 25, 2021
Get ready for this one, Bluebaggers. Jesse Motlop is one of us. 😍
Like his emerging football career, Motlop has made plans and taken steps to get there in the arts industry, too. He is the prospect with a podcast, with Motlop starting his Deadly Discussions show last year. He has published eight episodes – all on YouTube – and has a few more up his sleeve, and this year upgraded to a new studio at his school Aquinas College in Perth.
"I haven't seen many draft prospects have a podcast themselves, but I've always had a real knack for film and directing and podcasting was something where I could start that foundation. I had the resources and the people to interview so took the opportunity and went with it," he said.
"I've been on a break at the moment – a pretty big break – and have a few exams coming up so have given it a rest so hopefully I'm going to start it again next year."
Motlop will probably have more material for next season anyway. The 18-year-old is one of the best small forwards in the draft pool; smart, quick, dangerous and with senior experience this year playing for South Fremantle in the WAFL.
Making his senior debut for the Bulldogs caused some anxious moments, but the 176cm prospect booted two goals and was lively in attack in a sign for club recruiters he was ready for the level.
"Dad came over from Adelaide and came and watched and as soon as I stepped on the field that's when the nerves hit and it felt like I'd hit a wall but I settled in and got my hands on the ball and everyone got around me," he said.
Motlop moved to Western Australia when he was six with his mother, with Daniel continuing his career at the Power until the end of 2011 after 47 games at the Kangaroos. He played 83 games for Port, meaning Jesse doesn't qualify for father-son eligibility to either club.
"When you’re growing up you've got your mentors and mine was my dad and I wanted to be just like him. He was lucky enough to get a few AFL games under his belt and I wanted to follow in his footsteps straight away," he said.
"I watched him religiously as I was growing up. I always watched the YouTube clips and I'd dive in and try to find as many tapes as I could all over the internet. I've always grown up watching him and thought he was the best player ever. To be honest it still hasn't changed."
He is aiming to add another generation to the Motlop football story, too, following father Daniel, and uncles Shannon (64 games, North Melbourne and Melbourne), Marlon (five games, Port Adelaide) and Steven (203 games, Geelong and Port Adelaide) to the top level.
"I saw a stat the other day that the AFL hasn't been without a Motlop since 1998. Obviously uncle Shannon played in 1999 and he was lucky enough to win a premiership in his seventh game so it would be an awesome idea of carrying the legacy and such a well-known name in the AFL world. To live up to that is something I've always dreamt of," he said.
Motlop is a member of Fremantle's Next Generation Academy but the Dockers will only get priority call on him if he slips out of the top-40 picks at the draft under rules applying to metropolitan Indigenous prospects.
"They've been awesome for my development allowing me to have access to not only the facilities but the coaches. Freo's been massive for me and I'm excited to see what the future holds," he said.
"I am a part of the Next Generation Academy but every team is the same to me, I'm excited by the prospect of all 18 clubs and whoever picks me I'll be grateful for and happy either way."