By: JESS WEBSTER
Injuries put an end to Motlop’s career at NT Thunder
NT Thunder premiership captain Aaron Motlop has retired after injuries derailed his 2016 season.
An inaugural member of the club since its’ formation, Motlop played 84 games and kicked 23 goals since debuting in Round 1, 2009 against Southport.
The 30-year-old overcame adversity on more than one occasion, recovering from a knee reconstruction in 2010 and the passing of a close friend the following year to be a part of the club’s historic first ever premiership in 2011.
He became co-captain of the side in 2014 and took over the sole captaincy in 2015 when NT Thunder claimed its second NEAFL premiership in a one-point thriller against Aspley at TIO Stadium.
A natural leader, Motlop stepped aside from the captain’s duties in 2016 and failed to add to his games tally after persistent knee issues.
Motlop said he was going to take the time off between NTFL seasons to spend more time with his young family, and is also hopeful of lining up with Wanderers in the upcoming NTFL season.
“My mind wants to be able to keep going but I know within myself that my body can’t perform at the level expected by my teammates or the club at NEAFL level,” he said.
Motlop spoke fondly of the part NT Thunder had played in his life and the foundations of which the club was established.
“It has been a very rewarding experience to be involved in a young footy club that has been built from scratch,” he said.
“It gave us Territorians the opportunity to create our own history and play a brand of footy built on strong values.
“It would be an injustice to try and name everyone I owe thanks to but I couldn’t have become the player or person I am today without the support of my family and friends.
“I owe special thanks to Longy (Michael Long) for having the vision in the first place. If it weren’t for him and the creation of NT Thunder I would’ve been a miserable footballer chasing a dream down south away from the comfort of my home, and the love of my family and friends.”
NT Thunder coach Xavier Clarke was full of high praise for Motlop.
“This past season doesn’t do justice for all Aaron contributed to the Club. He has always maintained a sense of determination and high standard of performance, highlighted by his premiership success last year,” he said.
“He is the consummate professional and just a great guy to have around the place. I want to thank him for all he has given to Thunder, he will be sorely missed.”
Have your say! Follow the NEAFL on Twitter (@neaflofficial), Instagram (@neaflofficial) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/neaflofficial).