Sport AFL Leigh Montagna puts hand up for St Kilda captaincy

Leigh Montagna puts hand up for St Kilda captaincy

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St Kilda will use the Leading Teams group to help them find a captain for the 2014 AFL season, with veteran on-baller Leigh Montagna putting his hand up for the role.

Montagna said on Monday he’d be keen to consider the key leadership position.

“We’ll do the Leading Teams model where we’ll go through the proper process,” Montagna told reporters.

“But I would think clearly Nick Riewoldt would still be the man for the job.

“I can’t see why that would change.

“We’ll pick a leadership group and then from there pick a captain.

“But I certainly would expect Nick to do it if he wants to do it.

“It would be something I’d seriously consider.

“But look, Nick’s been a tremendous captain.”

Riewoldt, 31, has been captain or co-captain of the Saints for eight seasons.

Three of last season’s top four sides — Hawthorn, Fremantle and Sydney — employed the Leading Teams program.

Montagna said new coach Alan Richardson had given the Saints a tough pre-season including going at top pace in last week’s 40-degree heat.

“It’s probably the hottest conditions we’ve trained in,” the 212-game veteran said.

“I think it was our heaviest load of the pre-season.

“It has been a good challenge for the boys.”

Montagna said Richardson’s background as a member of Port Adelaide’s coaching staff during their rise to the top eight last season had given the Saints confidence.

“He’s fitted in really well. You can tell he’s confident in his own skin,” Montagna said.

“We just want to improve from last season. In the last couple of years we’ve been on a downward trend.

“The positive of Richo coming from Port Adelaide is he’s been there where it has happened really quickly and that’s given us a lot of confidence that it’s possible.”

Montagna said Richardson had been very direct and honest with his players and his main emphasis was on hard work.

“That’s been his motto. He’d rather us wear out than rust out,” Montagna said.

“He’d rather have guys pushing themselves to the limit rather than backing off.

“That’s something that’s been a challenge for some guys.”

St Kilda’s first pre-season game is against Western Bulldogs in Geelong on February 19.