Leigh Montagna (born 2 November 1983) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the St Kilda Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). A two time All-Australian, Montagna finished his career 7th on the all time games list for St.Kilda FC on 287 games and was top three in St Kilda's best and fairest, the Trevor Barker Award on five occasions.
Montagna in June 2017
|Full name||Leigh Montagna|
|Date of birth||2 November 1983|
|Original team(s)||Northern Knights (TAC Cup)|
|Draft||No. 37, 2001 national draft|
|Height||174 (5'8") cm|
|Weight||78 kg (172 lb)|
|2002–2017||St Kilda||287 (155)|
|Representative team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2017.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2010.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Montagna was recruited from the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup under 18's as the number 37 draft pick in round 2 of the 2001 AFL draft by St Kilda. He played his first game wearing number 28 for St Kilda in round 2 of the 2002 AFL season against the Collingwood Football Club.
Montagna was a part of St Kilda setting a then club record for consecutive wins between round 1 and round 10 in the 2004 AFL season. Montagna did not play in the finals series and St Kilda eventually fell six points short on the scoreboard in the preliminary final after qualifying for the finals series in third position.
Montagna's 50th AFL match for St Kilda was in round 21 of the 2006 AFL season, a 50 point win against the Western Bulldogs. 2006 was a breakthrough season. Consolidating himself in the senior team, he went on to play 22 games for the season, leading the club in inside-50's, running bounces, and was top five in tackles and hard-ball gets. He averaged over 19 disposals per game.
In round 8, 2007, in a match against Hawthorn, Montagna suffered a broken jaw but only missed one week with the injury. Although 2007 was the first since 2003 that St Kilda had missed out on playing in the finals series, it was the season that saw Montagna become a top line AFL footballer. Montagna played consistently throughout the season and continued the improvement he had shown in 2006. He played an accountable and hard running role through St Kilda's midfield, averaging 24 disposals and 3 tackles per game and kicking 10 goals for the year. Some of Montagna's highlights for the year included best on ground performances against the Kangaroos, Richmond and Hawthorn in the second half of the year. Montagna was rewarded for his efforts with a third-place finish in St Kilda's 2007 best and fairest.
Montagna played in St Kilda's 2008 NAB Cup winning side–the club's third pre-season cup win. St Kilda defeated Richmond, Geelong and Essendon on the way to the grand final. 2008 saw Montagna continue to become vital in the St Kilda's midfield. St Kilda qualified fourth for the finals series and were defeated in the preliminary final by eventual premiers, Hawthorn. He finished the year with the most kicks in the competition and second for inside-50's. His season was rewarded by being selected for the first time to represent Australia against Ireland in the International Rules series.
Montagna's 100th game for St Kilda was in round 2 of the 2009 AFL season against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, a win by 32 points. He played in 21 of 22 matches in the 2009 home and away season where St Kilda won the minor premiership and qualified in first position for the finals series. A new club record of 19 consecutive wins between rounds 1 and 19 was set, the equal third best in league history. The club completed its best ever home and away season with 20 wins and 2 losses. He played in the 2009 AFL Grand Final in which St Kilda lost by 12 points. Montagna averaged 27.9 disposals and 6.25 tackles in 2009 and was named in the 2009 All-Australian team for the first time. His season saw him become one of the best players in the competition. Considered a pre-Brownlow Medal contender, a third placed finish in a tight St Kilda best and fairest count and All-Australian for the first time in 2009.
Montagna played 26 games in 2010, including the infamous draw and replay grand finals, averaging 28.6 possessions. He finished second in St Kilda's best and fairest award (Trevor Barker Medal), was selected in the AFL's All-Australian team for the second year in a row, finished in the top 10 in the Brownlow medal, and capped off the year by representing Australia in the International rules series for the second time.
The departure of Ross Lyon at the end of the 2011 season resulted in the beginning of a complete rebuild for St Kilda and despite the retirements and movement of many of his senior teammates, Montagna remained a model of consistency and a key leader through the rebuild. He played 102 out of 110 games in that period averaging 26.4 disposals, finishing no lower than fourth in the club best and fairest and representing Australia on two more occasions.
2016 saw Montagna play across half back for the first time in his career where he excelled in that role averaging 29.2 disposals per game and helped lead the club to within percentage of playing finals for the first time since 2011.
|Season||Team||No.||Games||Totals||Averages (per game)|
In 2014 Montagna married his girlfriend of six years, Erinn Byrne.
- "AFL 2004 Wizard Cup Grand Final - Geelong v St Kilda". Slattery Media Group. 13 March 2004. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- "AFL Tables: Leigh Montagna". AFL Tables. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
- Lane, Samantha (6 October 2007). "Riewoldt wins record fourth gong". Real Footy. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
- "St Kilda wins NAB cup". The Age. Melbourne. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- "Saints are NAB Cup Champions in 2008". Jeld-Wen. 8 March 2008. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- "2009 Season Scores and Results - Ladder". AFL Tables. 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
- "Leigh Montagna player profile".
- Schmook, Nathan (30 August 2017). "After 16 seasons, veteran Saint hands in his halo". AFL.com.au. Telstra. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- "Leigh Montagna". AFL Tables. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
- Clementine Ford [@clementine_ford] (3 February 2014). "Oh, isn't that nice! Leigh Montagna's had a fairytale wedding day! Hope his bride has read Night Games" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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