SHANNON Motlop was known for his ability to dob a classy goal on the run during his AFL career.
Now, he’s kicking goals of a different kind, as part of his family’s venture into the business ‘Something Wild’, which specialises in Indigenous food and open range meat.
Motlop, who kicked two goals in the 1999 Kangaroos premiership, and later spent a couple of seasons with the Demons in the mid-2000s, provided Indigenous food during Melbourne’s Reconciliation Action Plan launch at the Koorie Heritage Trust on Wednesday.
Although the business is based in Adelaide, Motlop said it was going from strength to strength across the country.
“We own a shop – myself and my two brothers and my Dad, and a guy by the name of Richard Gunner, who is part-owner – based over in Adelaide,” he told Melbourne TV.
“We’re a wild game and nature greens store, functioning out of the Adelaide Central Market. We’ve been in the business for about a year and a half and doing really well.”
Motlop said the business had also branched into other areas.
“Recently we’ve gone into alcohol, just with a few findings. We’ve come across the native green ant, which is based up in Darwin,” he said.
“We’ve found that we can use that in alcohol to make a really good gin. That’s currently out at the moment and it’s called the Australian Green Ant Gin.
“More recently, we’ve gone into the wattleseed beer (called Wattleseed Lager) as well, so they’re all native products.”
Motlop chuckled when he said gin was his favourite product, but added that the food was reflective of his culture.
“It’s all stuff that we ate now and then. Being Aboriginal – these are all of the foods that our ancestors would’ve lived on – they’re all foods that we still eat today, but not as often,” he said.
“It’s something more on my plate these days than it was and the market is going that way where people are willing to try these foods.
“Kangaroo is very popular now and that’s the type of food we sell – from emu to kangaroo to wallaby, venison and native foods. They’re the type of meats we sell, as well as native greens.”
Motlop, who played 64 AFL matches (54 with the Kangaroos from 1999-2003 and 10 with Melbourne from 2005-06), came to the Demons in tough circumstances.
He replaced the late Troy Broadbridge, who tragically died in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Thailand.
Melbourne was granted a player to replace Broadbridge for the 2005 season and Motlop gained another opportunity to play in the AFL, after he spent the 2004 with North Adelaide.
He played seven games in 2005, including Melbourne’s elimination final against Geelong, before adding three more appearances in 2006.
But having tasted the ultimate success in his first AFL season – and in just his seventh AFL game – Motlop, who played 35 games for the Kangaroos in his second and third seasons in 2000-01, said he was proud of his time at the highest level.
“I’m fairly happy with it. Ten years down the track, I have no regrets. I probably didn’t do as much as I should’ve. I was happy to go home – I was always happy to go home – and it probably held me back a bit,” he said.
“I probably [didn’t stay] as long as I would’ve liked [at Melbourne], but looking back, it was really tough – a really tough time with Troy passing away and with myself having to come onto the list.
“There was a lot of media around that and it was something I didn’t really enjoy back then … so it was a really tough time coming back into the AFL after being out of it for a year and having to meeting the cameras at the airport.
“It hit me at the airport that day [I arrived in Melbourne to join the club].”
Still, the Motlop name has been a regular in the AFL for almost 20 years, having featured in every AFL season since Shannon made his AFL debut in round 10, 1999 for the Kangaroos against Port Adelaide at the MCG.
Today, younger brother Steven represents the Motlop name at the Cats.
And Shannon is hopeful more family members will emerge in the AFL in the coming years.
“I’ve got quite a big family – my two brothers, Steven’s at Geelong and Daniel had a good career in the AFL with North Melbourne and Port Adelaide, and I’ve got a cousin Marlon, who played a handful of games at Port Adelaide,” he said.
“Hopefully there are a few more in the future to come through.”