A polished and highly efficient midfielder and wingman, St Kilda selected Montagna with pick No.37 in the 2001 AFL National Draft.
The 30-year-old followed his superb 2012 season in which he was runner-up to Lenny Hayes in the Trevor Barker award with another consistent campaign in 2013. While his first best and fairest again proved elusive, Montagna’s third placing recognised his substantial contribution to the team, especially late in the year.
He collected 32 or more touches in six of his last seven games to finish with a season average of 29.6 disposals per outing.
Together with Jack Steven, Montagna lifted his game to another level and was a central figure in the Saints engine room for the entirety of the year.
Not to be underrated as a forward, Montagna kicked 16 goals and remains an integral part of St Kilda’s setup.
A classy, hard-running midfielder, Montagna was selected pick 37 in the 2001 AFL National Draft.
A two-time All-Australian and second to Lenny Hayes in the 2012 Trevor Barker medal, Montagna’s defensive skills really improved last season.
While his ball-winning ability coupled with finishing skills have always been a hallmark of his play, he took on a number of testing run-with roles in the back half of the 2012 season.
A great team player and consistent performer for almost a decade now, Montagna invariably finds the footy regardless of whether he is in the midfield, up forward or down back. He is likely to spend time in all three of these roles in 2013.
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Leigh Montagna was drafted from the Northern Knights with selection 37 in the 2001 AFL National Draft and made his debut in 2002 against Collingwood in Round 6.
The hard-running wingman is a two time All-Australian and was an International Rules representative in 2008 and 2010. He also finished 2nd in the Club’s Best and Fairest in 2010, and finished 3rd twice in 2007 and 2009.
Best known for his kicking ability and teamwork, Leigh received an AFL Rising Star nomination in 2003.
Leigh is one of the premier running midfielders in the competition.
His work rate is outstanding and his first-class finishing skills make him a real threat to all opposition clubs.
During 2011, the 29-year-old was a prolific ball winner, he had a season-high with 38 disposals against Melbourne in round 9, finishing a close second in total kicks for the Club.
Earlier this year, Leigh was appointed as a Multicultural Ambassador for the AFL and plans to work creatively with players in the League to help tell their story.
Season by season
An experienced midfielder and wingman, Montagna was selected with pick 37 in the 2001 National Draft.
The prolific ball-winner amassed more disposals than any other Saint in 2013, continuing the form which saw him finish third in the 2013 Trevor Barker Award.
Along with Nick Riewoldt, Montagna is an integral leader at the football club and is driven to propel the Saints back up the ladder in 2015.
2014 coaches’ perspective – Adam Kingsley (midfield coach)
Leigh had a reasonably good year. He found a lot of the ball and gave us plenty of drive.
Off the field, he showed great leadership around the footy club, working closely with Jack Billings in a mentoring capacity that fast-tracked his development as we saw.
Joey has become a really important guy at our footy club and we rely on him to lead the way which he does terrifically well.