He’s the draft bolter “no one saw coming” but Olli Hotton has always had his sights firmly set on a career in the AFL and following the footsteps of his father Trent.
Trent Hotton played 78 games across a six-year career with Collingwood and then Carlton in the mid-90s and early 2000s.
Now son Olli is preparing himself for life as an AFL player after a remarkable rise through the draft ranks.
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The 181cm Hotton admits he had a “shocking’ start to the season – first with injury, Covid and then form – resulting in the teen getting sent back to school footy for Haileybury, where Essendon great Matthew Lloyd works as a coach.
It took a stroke of luck, and some impressive school form, for Hotton to make the Victorian under 18 squad as an injury/unavailability replacement and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
“I think the narrative (around draft hopes) did switch when I played that Vic trial game … I played a shocking first four games and went back to school footy and tried to crack in early, hopefully get some respect back,” he told Fox Footy.
“Once I played that trial game, I got my first report and everything that came with it.
“I think the motivation in me all along was to get drafted.”
That trial game, where he had 18 possessions and a goal, ensured he held his spot when the squad was trimmed and from there, Hotton’s rapid rise continued.
AFL talent ambassador Kevin Sheehan even described Hotton as a “bolt from the blue”.
He had 17 disposals and two goals against the Allies before his impressive 24 touches and three goals against South Australia really made the scouts take notice.
“I wasn’t one of those players getting the media attention (early at the under 18s competition), but I’m kind of in the same boat now (as his high profile teammates),” he said.
“I think the year as a whole, week-in week-out going through experiences you dream of since you were a little boy, it was pretty unreal. I didn’t start too well, but it was good to build up that form during the year.
“That Vic’s side, putting the big V on was pretty unreal for the first time.
“So many people in the AFL now have put the jumper on before you.”
Hotton helped steer both Sandringham and Vic Metro to premierships in 2022 in a stellar season for the teen who is committed to improving his game every day.
“Coming from a pretty rich sporting background playing for Collingwood and Carlton, my dad’s been a big help with me,” he said.
“His insight into the AFL world and the AFL lifestyle, the things recruiters are looking for in a player, he helps me with that sort of stuff.
“He’s not very hands on … he lets me play my game. Afterwards, he’ll point out a couple of things, constructive feedback, things I can work on next week and things to take my game to the next level.”
Those attributes include taking the game on and ensuring he has a high-kick efficiency and high score involvement as a mid-forward.
Story Credit: foxsports.com.au