Ageless Saint Leigh Montagna is drawing inspiration from former Hawk Shane Crawford as he chases an elusive AFL premiership.
Ahead of his 250th AFL game when St Kilda opens its season against Port Adelaide on Sunday, the 32-year-old said he hadn’t given up on one day tasting premiership glory.
“That’s the ultimate dream,” Montagna said on Tuesday.
“Shane Crawford is the inspiration.
“It was his last year in 2008 and he was able to hang on and have the young guys like (Lance) Franklin and (Jarryd) Roughead come through and carry him to a flag.
“I have it in the back of my mind that hopefully these young guys, if they continue to improve, they might be able to carry Nick (Riewoldt) and I to a flag.”
Montagna played in the 2009 and 2010 Saints teams that came achingly close to winning a flag.
They lost to Geelong by 12 points in 2009 and then played in a drawn grand final in 2010 before Collingwood won the replay the next week by 56 points.”
Montagna is contracted until the end of 2017 and hasn’t put an end-date on his career.
“Having that carrot of playing finals and potentially a grand final – that’s still there and while that’s there I’m motivated and stimulated to do my best,” he said.
Montagna fancied the Saints’ chances against Port at Adelaide Oval and named Jack Billings, Jack Lonie, Seb Ross and teenager Paddy McCartin as players he thought would have a big year.
“We’ve had a pretty good pre-season; we’ve got a full list to pick from and the boys are feeling good about themselves so we’ve got to make sure we bring that effort and everything we’ve worked on to give ourselves a chance,” he said.