WHEN Jesse Motlop arrived at Carlton, he was handed a famous Navy Blue number: the No.3, vacated just a few months prior by 300-gamer and former captain, Marc Murphy.

Of course, there were also the likes of Kevin Hall and Mike Fitzpatrick, who made the number their own in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

As it turned out when he arrived at IKON Park, Motlop was no stranger to adopting significant numbers in the history of the football club he represented.

For when Motlop was emerging through the ranks at the South Fremantle Football Club in the country’s west, he was handed the No.49 — a number with no shortage of heritage.


Playing at the same club as his great-uncles Mark and Paul, Motlop - speaking to Triple M’s Rush Hour - spoke of the honour of wearing a guernsey number which meant so much to a number of people.

“They had a special number - No.49 - which was obviously Maurice Rioli’s number, and they would give that to an Indigenous player,” Motlop said.

“I was lucky enough to have that all the way through to the league team . . . to play in eight league games in my last year, including a Grand Final, which was pretty fun.”


On Tuesday, Carlton launched its Reconciliation Action Plan for 2023-2025, formalising the Club’s commitment to assist in delivering positive life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

A key feature of the RAP is the Club incorporating reconciliation activities into daily practice — Indigenous artwork adorns the walls of the new IKON Park redevelopment, while Carlton’s warm-up and training tops do similar.

It’s a facet of his old football club which Motlop - from a famous footballing family himself - still speaks glowingly of.

“I lived in Perth since I was about six years old and went through all the South Fremantle development teams . . . you hear stories coming through them all,” Motlop said on Friday.

“They’ve got their own memorial on the side of the shed — it’s definitely very strong in the South Fremantle community.”