“It changed my football.” We talk with Freo Star Michael Walters on fatherhood

In this video interview, Son Son reveals how becoming a dad turned his footy career around, giving him a new motivation to succeed; "I wanted to build something for them."


So Michael Walters from the Fremantle Dockers thanks for having a chat. Can you start by telling me how the family is going at the moment?

Yeah the family’s going good, at the moment life couldn’t be any better. I come home from meetings and they make my day a lot more enjoyable.

You’re probably better qualified than a lot of fathers to talk about the different challenges at different stages.

It didn’t click until I held Laila in my arms for the first time, at the end of the day that footy is number one, it’s what’s going to give me the best opportunity to give Laila the best start to life.

When Marnie was pregnant with Laila, there were a bit of challenges thrown at me, I got sent back to Swan Districts for being a bit overweight, my footy wasn’t going in the right direction that I wanted it to, there was a lot of things where I had to grow up and mature in life and in my sporting life as well. If I wanted to create a future for myself and for Laila, and for Marnie as well, I had to grow up and mature and be a responsible father.

The DAD website is obviously by dads for dads so it’d be great if you could give me a bit of an insight into the Walters-Myers’ household. What’s Marnie like as a mum and what are you like as a dad, and the personalities of the girls and how it all comes together.

Yeah, there’s a lot of personality in that house having two girls, or three [with] Marnie as well so yeah, it’s something that I really enjoy, something that I love, something that I wouldn’t change for the world. At the start there was no sleep and I found it hard to get up for training but you always find the extra boost to get up for training and I think it sort of changed my football because I want to build something for them. I want them to have the best life.

How did the family influence your life and Laila coming along, change your life where your football went from strength to strength.

There’s little things, you try to build a future for her, I want her to do some private schooling, I want her to not struggle in life. I want her to have something to fall back on, whether it be schooling, I’d like for them to own their own house when they’re older but I want them to earn their name and work hard too, but at the end of the day I just want to give them a bit of a boost, a starting point for them to create the best life for themselves.

Son Son. Can I ask you about your nickname and where that came from?

Yeah. I got it on the Indian-Pacific when I was only a couple of weeks old. I wouldn’t go to sleep, so my dad made up a lullaby on the way to Adelaide, he went through my family, it goes “Goodnight Aunty Grace, goodnight Uncle John” then he goes through my cousins like “Corey, Temekah” and then by the end of it, he goes goodnight my son-son. So after he went through my whole family and then once he got to the point where he says “good night my Son Son”, that’s when I was out to it. From there, school teachers, local footy clubs, everyone around the street calls me Son Son.

There’s a great story of you, Nic Natanui, Chris Yarran kicking a footy in the street. Beside a very talented street, that’s also a really nice memory for you to have. What sort of moments from your childhood do you hope that your kids can experience when they grow up?

It was a wonderful street to be brought up on. We’d hang out at school together, we’d all walk home, we’d stop off at the basketball court and have a shoot around, whatever, we didn’t really have to be home at a certain time, and we could just hang out with each other.

That’s pretty much all I want my kids to do, is to learn to have fun, but do it in the right way and make sure you hang out with people that are going to be on the right path and that want to achieve the same things in life as you.

Fremantle Dockers Player Michael 'Son Son' Walters and his two children

Dockers Star Michael Walters with daughters Addison and Laila. Picture: Daniel Carson, AFL Media

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