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More in the tank for Montagna?

Josh Gabelich  March 24, 2016 5:00 PM

Captains praise Joey milestone AFL captains congratulate Leigh Montagna on the eve of his 250th game.
He seems to have taken his game to another level and he’s had a high standard for such a long period so I can’t see him slowing down.

Leigh Montagna may be 32 and closer to the end than the beginning, but given his form in recent seasons, it appears the St Kilda star is showing no signs of slowing down and may have plenty of football left in the tank according to a couple of his peers.

Both Essendon Captain Brendon Goddard and his Western Bulldogs counterpart Bob Murphy believe the decorated Saints wingman has proven his durability in the last few seasons could see him go on for more years to become and potentially join the elusive 300-game club.

Having recently inked a new one-year contract extension, Montagna is tied to the Saints until the end of 2017. And given his 2015 form saw him accumulate the tenth most disposals per game in the competition (28.8) and the equal second most inside 50s (5.3), his numbers still stack up against the premier midfielders in the game.

From a slow start to 250

“‘Joey’s’ always been a reliable guy on the field, someone you can rely on,” Goddard told saints.com.au at the AFL Captains’ Day.

“He’s been pretty durable the last three or four years so he might be around to reach 300.”

“He’s been an incredible player. He does seem to me as someone who could play a lot more footy. He seems to have taken his game to another level and he’s had a high standard for such a long period so I can’t see him slowing down,” Murphy quipped.

Whilst some members of the prestigious draft class of 2001 have passed or are near passing the 300-game milestone, Montagna’s ability to overcome a slow start to his career makes his 250-game milestone even more impressive, according to his former teammate Goddard.

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“When you think about ‘Joey’ you forget he was injured early in his career and struggled to find his feet and was in and out of the team for a number of years,” he said.

“When you look back then and look where he is now it’s a really good effort. I’m proud of ‘Joey’.”

After playing one game in his maiden season in 2002, the dynamic wingman played 12, nine and eight in the following years due to injuries and form before he established himself as a permanent fixture in St Kilda’s best 22 in 2006.

From there he has rarely missed patches of football, playing 20 or more games in every season except for last year where he managed 17, to highlight his durability.