On The Pine

By Aaron Kirkby-Rodier - @AzKirkby9

Most kids rush down to their local club and take up footy as soon as they can walk, that wasn't the case for Marcus Hottes.

"I started as Auskick then started juniors when I was 10 because mum and dad wouldn't let me play until then."

Hottes would head down to his local club to play with his mates after it felt like a lifetime of waiting.

"I played juniors at Yarra Junction until I was 16 then moved to Woori Yallock to play 18s and seniors because we couldn't get the numbers together at Yarra Junction"

During his time at Yarra Junction Hottes would win the Under 16 league Best and Fairest.

"It was a bit of a surprise, I was an okay Junior, but not a star, there was always two or three blokes that would win and I was a late bloomer.In under 16's I hit my straps, but it was certainly a surprise"

The Eastern Ranges would notice Hottes during the 2002 season.

"I played in a school footy round robin in under 15's and I got invited from that competition. (Under 16's I started at Ranges and it was a really good experience."

Spending three seasons at the Eastern Ranges Hottes had plenty of success, and heading into his final season he had some interest from a high profile AFL club.

"Early on in my last year I was playing pretty well and there was some interest from Richmond.x8But as the year went on I struggled a bit and was in and out of the side, so nothing really came of that"

Hottes never really thought he would get drafted despite getting interest from the Tigers.

"As much as I wanted to get drafted, I knew, realistically that there was a lot of guys my size and you needed to have something that everyone else didn't"

After missing out on the draft Hottes along with some others headed down to Box Hill to try their luck in the VFL.

"I did a pre-season there and got cut, which I didn't really mind.6)I had just stepped out of Ranges and part of me wanted to play with Box Hill, but the other part just wanted to play with mates. That was a good experience though to be around VFL calibre players"

Hottes would return to Woori Yallock to begin his senior career and would get the chance to play under a former AFL star.

"I was lucky enough to start my senior footy at Woori under Monkey (Damien Monkhorst)"

Hottes never thought about leaving Woori Yallock, but when some old mates asked him to meet and talk about his footy he couldn't say no.

"I had relationships with Simone Rourke and Greg Stafford from Eastern Ranges and they had got the coaching job at Lilydale, so we organised a catch up at the Olinda Creek Hotel for a dinner.I can honestly look you in the eye and say I had no intentions of going to that dinner thinking maybe I'll go to Lilydale.After the meeting I thought as if I can't come to Lilydale, they just sold it to me"

Hottes would suit up for the Dales in 2009 and would have an immediate impact. Winning the Best and Fairest in not only his first but second season as well.

"Totally unexpected, my goal in my first season was just to play every game in the seniors and to win the Best and Fairest in a good side was great.It gave me a lot of self belief and to back it up the next year was even better.

After some terrific years for Lilydale an opportunity opened up for Hottes to take a crack at the WAFL with Subiaco in season 2011.

"I think I'd played two or three years at Lilydale and then we finished bottom and got relegated and that's when I moved to Subiaco"

Not necessarily through his ambition but a connection at Lilydale helped Hottes get to the Lions.

"My partner got offered to play netball over there so that's how that came about and then Mark Haynes is a club legend at Subiaco and he helped me get over there"

After arriving in Perth and settling in Hottes would begin with the WAFL side. After having a positive start it wouldn't all go to plan.

"Pre-season I was doing alright, the fitness levels over there are amazing.Practice matches I was playing in the seniors then come Round 1 I was in the Reserves.I played some good footy and thought I was good enough but I think the coach just didn't rate me as a footballer.It was a bit frustrating not to play a senior game but the coach has the final say"

After a difficult season with Subiaco, Hottes would return to Lilydale where he would continue his dominance in the EFL's premier division.

With the return of Interleague football in 2014 and 2015 Hottes would cement his position as one of the leagues best players by gaining selection in both sides. Not many players speak of Interleague in such high regard.

"I love it, I absolutely love playing Interleague Footy.You get to play with the best players in the comp and they're all ripping blokes"

After a tough loss in 2014 the EFL would bounce back in 2015.

"This year we won and it was great. I'm not going to play a higher standard of footy which means a lot to me"

With the win the EFL will take on the VAFA for the number one ranking in metro football at the start of 2016. Hottes has his sight firmly set on the number one spot and a chance to make up for the 2014 loss.

"When we played the Ammo's last year they have that arrogance and they are a confident team.There would be nothing better than to beat them and have the number one ranking."

Hottes thinks its important players want to play in the game and hopes all of the leagues best put their hand up.

"It would be good to get the absolute best side out especially with some of the names we've had come into the league this year."

After all he has achieved individually Hottes just wants to tick that most important box in his eyes.

"There would be nothing better than to win a flag in Division 1. We are a fair way off at the moment but that's the goal."

Marcus Hottes has been and continues to be one of the premier players in the EFL on and off the field. With a young Lilydale side on the rise Hottes is the perfect man to lead them to future success.