IN SEPTEMBER 1987, amid euphoric scenes in the winner’s circle following the Grand Final triumph over Hawthorn at the MCG, Craig Bradley handed his Premiership medallion to Peter Motley, whose career as a Carlton footballer had been cruelly cut short in a road accident that almost claimed his life.
Fast forward 32 years to September 2019, Adelaide Oval – and Bradley, Carlton’s dual Premiership player and club games record holder, was there again for his old mate ‘Mots’, who tonight (Monday) followed him into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame.
“To be there in the inner sanctum with the Motley family for Peter’s induction into the Hall of Fame has been a real privilege for me,” Bradley said. “Unfortunately Peter’s mother is no longer about but she would be just as proud of Peter as his sister and his Dad.
“I know Peter is just as proud of his induction as I was . . . to be inducted into the Hall is a massive honour.”
Bradley, Port Adelaide’s Premiership player in 1981, three-time club best and fairest in 1982, ’84 and ’85 and member of its coveted Team of the Century, said that whilst it might be difficult for children of the current era to appreciate how it was , “growing up in South Australia all that kids like ‘Mots’ and me knew was SANFL footy, the game and its heroes”.
“Peter was and is very much Sturt, and while Carlton was robbed of a superstar he’s also a fanatical Carlton tragic. He’s Blue through and through – as passionate as any Carlton supporter,” Bradley said.
“As a player he was also fanatical. Yes, he was exciting, high-leaping and brought a lot of charisma to his play, but he was also fiercely-driven – a competitor who would fight to the end.
“As a person he’s a very humble guy – ‘the people’s person’ you might say.”
Motley’s time at Princes Park encompassed just 13 senior matches through 1986 and the opening six games of the following season, and a stellar playing career was assured until fate intervened. But by the time he’d completed his much-heralded arrival with Bradley and Stephen Kernahan, Motley’s handsome reputation in his home state had already been forged.
A member of the Sturt Football Club’s Team of the Century, Motley represented the Double Blues in 92 league games between 1982 and ’85, during which time he earned the club’s best and fairest awards in 1984 and ’85. He also represented South Australia on six occasions, winning the Fos Williams Medal in 1985 and All-Australian status in the same year.
Such was his status at Sturt that in 2015 the club saw fit to rename its home ground – once Unley Oval, now Peter Motley Oval.
The South Australian Football Hall of Fame of which Motley is now an esteemed member was established in 2002 when 114 individuals were declared inaugural inductees. In the years since, administrators, media representatives, umpires and players like him have been included, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to football in that state.
Those who currently make up the Hall of Fame selection committee are Leigh Whicker AM (Chairman), John Halbert AM MBE, Neil Kerley AM, Chris McDermott, David Shipway AM, Michelangelo Rucci, Bill Sanders AM, Julian Burton OAM and Tim Pfeiffer.
Motley now joins Carlton’s four other inductees to the South Australian Football Hall of Fame – Stephen Kernahan and Mark Naley (both inducted in 2002), Craig Bradley (2006) and Andrew McKay (2007).