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Excruciating losses provide learning tool says Montagna

Josh Gabelich  May 13, 2016 12:23 PM

AFL 2016 Rd 07 - St Kilda v North Melbourne

St Kilda has fallen short against Hawthorn and North Melbourne in the last month by under 10-points.

While they are excruciating and they are tough to handle, it has been a great learning curve for the young group.

Heartbreaking losses to genuine premiership contenders Hawthorn and North Melbourne have been difficult to accept, although the lessons learned have been highly beneficial for St Kilda, according to veteran Leigh Montagna.

At 2-5, St Kilda’s bottom line could look quite different after seven rounds had Alan Richardson’s side got the better of nail-biting encounters with the Hawks (lost by 3) and Kangaroos (lost by 7).

But despite the disappointment of losing, and by such narrow margins, Montagna says the knowledge St Kilda’s best can stack up with the best in the competition has instilled confidence, particularly within a group with such a young age profile.

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“I think we’re still at that stage where we’re really learning from these losses. As long as we take the learnings from these losses and next time we’re in the situation we’re a little better and can try and close out these games,” Montagna told AFL Tonight.

“While they are excruciating and they are tough to handle, it has been a great learning curve for the young group.

“I think the immediate aftermath is really disappointing, that you’ve come so close against these top teams, but I think the bigger picture is it’s really positive for the club, that we know our best football can compete with these top teams.

“Our challenge is to re-produce that as often as possible and continue to play the way that we are. If we do that, the guys have now got belief that we can do that against the top teams.”

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Thriving across half-back in the opening section of 2016, averaging more possessions (29.1 per game) than any other player at Linen House Centre, Montagna isn’t prepared to look too far into the future, just yet.

The 32-year-old has been one of the Saints best performers in 2016 and is contracted until the end of next season. After that, he will wait and see if he has more left in the tank.

“Possibly (has more years left). I’m enjoying the challenge at the moment, suppling a bit of use for the defenders and working out there,” Montagna said.

“I’m not sure (if 2017 will be final season). I’ll get through this season and definitely play next season and go from there. But I’ve been enjoying the challenge.”

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