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AFL superstar Marcus Bontempelli’s ‘beautiful’ family story behind latest children’s book

Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli has used his “beautiful” nonna as a source of inspiration for his new illustrated children’s book, Little Bont’s Brave Play.

While the story is about facing fears and finding courage, the AFL superstar has also opened up on his fond memories of his nonna.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: AFL superstar Marcus Bontempelli releases new book.

Analysis, local footy and the biggest moments, Seven and 7plus are the home of footy shows for every fan. Stream them all for free on 7plus >>

Bontempelli comes from Italian and Irish blood and says family values are everything to him, and, as his father said, “everything (else) is secondary”.

And speaking on 3AW, he described his nonna as “a beautiful hard-working woman”.

However, Bontempelli sadly revealed he had little recollection of both his grandfathers.

Marcus Bontempelli has devoted his new book to his nonna. Credit: Sunrise

“From a family perspective, I have some memories of the male counterparts in my grandparents, but both my poppie and my nonno (grandfather) passed away when I was quite young,” Bontempelli said.

“So a lot of my grandparents memories are of the female counterparts … always a heartwarming place to visit, always food provided on entry and on probably exit.

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“It was a lot about love and warmth and sitting around the table and laughing and smiling, and they are all the things that come to mind when I think of both sides of the family.”

Bontempelli also appeared on Seven’s Sunrise on Thursday.

“(The book) is very much about my nonna and my Italian heritage and (with my nonna there was) always a welcoming smile to visit at any stage of my life, but especially as a young one after football, or whatever it might be, she was great to visit and always had a beautiful meal ready to go that filled my belly all the way up,” Bontempelli said.

Sunrise host Nat Barr said it was “an interesting side gig for a footy player” and asked him why he wrote it.

Bontempelli said as a professional footballer he had an “opportunity to influence the next generation” and he loved the idea of telling a story about his family and background.

He said he hoped he could positively “shape” – in some form – the life of children, and he saw writing as a “great opportunity to get into the homes” and talk about fear of failure and how to overcome it.

Botempelli has also admitted to his own fear of “failure” and said dealing with expectations and trying to be a “perfectionist” had been a challenge.

“I know I’ve got a responsibility in the community as a role model, but, particularly, from a football perspective, it’s the chosen life path (that) I’ve made …,” he said.

He said his teammates were pretty happy about (the book) and they were starting to have starting to have “little ones”.

“I think they are just happy there is a book to read and they don’t have to go out and (find one) and I can hand it around the locker-room and (they can) read their little ones to bed,” he said.

Botempelli recently had ankle surgery and said everything was tracking well and there was no doubt he would be right for Round 1 next year.

Little Bont’s Brave Play is a sequel to Bontempelli’s first book, Little Bont and the Big Secret, and is available in stores now.

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