Leigh Montagna

Another Raft of Retirements
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

At the conclusion of Round 23, four more players announced that 2017 would be their last season: veteran Cat defenders Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan, Kangaroo Lachie Hansen and Kangaroo veteran turned West Coast rookie Drew Petrie. The Cats and Eagles still have a finals campaign to navigate in September.A few days later, Saint stalwart Leigh Montagna also announced his retirement.

Kangaroos Celebrate Harvey Milestone in Style
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

In a scrappy contest in front of just over 40,000 fans at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, North Melbourne helped to celebrate Brent Harvey’s games record with a 23 point victory over St Kilda. Boomer Harvey is chaired off the field by Michale Firrito and Drew Petrie in Aussie rules match. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.Harvey’s 427th VFL/AFL game broke the record held by Hawthorn’s Michael Tuck, and with seemingly plenty left in the tank it would take a brave man to suggest he cannot reach the amazing milestone of 450 league games if he decides to play on next season.

Saints Continue Melbourne Hoodoo
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA  from Australia

St Kilda has once again downed a fancied Melbourne with a frantic 36 point win at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Despite being a vastly improved team in 2016, the Demons could not find the answers to a fast finishing Saints that now hold a fourteen game winning streak over a beleaguered Melbourne. There was reason for optimism early for the Demons as they continually punished the Saints from defense in the first quarter, Jayden Hunt being the catalyst for numerous counterattacks that led to a 17 point lead at the first break.

Surprising Saints Stun Cats
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

In one of the biggest upsets of the season to date, a plucky St. Kilda snatched victory in the dying seconds of their match against league pacesetters Geelong in an enthralling contest at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Despite trailing by nine points late in the final quarter after some stirring football by the Cats, the young Saints willed themselves forward, scoring two brilliant late goals through Jade Gresham and Jack Steven to seal the Saints first victory over Geelong since 2010. This continues the Saints remarkable night game performance at Etihad where they have won more than 80% of their games in recent seasons. If only the Saints were so good at other times and places.

Eagles Feast on Saints
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium in Perth, Australia

There are two types of West Coast Eagles. One is powerful and merciless and will quickly destroy any intruder that dares to enter its territory.Eagles players sing the club song after their big win over the Saints during Round 8. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA. The other - offers meek resistance and is easily brought down to earth. The aggressive species controls Domain Stadium. The other is only seen east of the Nullabor plain.

Kangaroos Remain Undefeated
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

North Melbourne has survived a spirited comeback by St Kilda to take a seven point victory at Etihad Stadium and remain undefeated after seven rounds of the AFL season. Despite holding a four goal buffer well into the final quarter, the Kangaroos were almost run down by a determined Saints unit that tied the scores late in the match.  A Todd Goldstein free kick gave North Melbourne a slender lead that they were able to maintain under intense pressure. A goal on the siren by Mason Wood sealed the win for the Kangaroos who remain atop of the AFL table over the Geelong Cats and the Sydney Swans.

Club Champion Awards
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Shane Mumford has won the 2014 Kevin Sheedy Medal in his first season with the Giants. The former Sydney premiership ruckman was presented with the medal by its namesake, inaugural coach Kevin Sheedy who has remained at the club as a coaching director. Mumford, 28, crossed from the Swans at the end of 2013 and took out the club champion award despite missing five games through injury. He polled in 13 of the 17 games he played to finish with 81 votes. Co-captain Callan Ward and small forward Devon Smith were equal runners-up on 72 votes. Midfielder Adam Treloar finished fourth on 62 votes and vice-captain Heath Shaw fifth with 56 votes.

Tigers Dream Run Continues
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Richmond players faced St Kilda at the MCG in the final game of Round 22, knowing their fate was well and truly in their own hands. Riding the wave of an incredible seven game winning streak that included on the road wins against the West Coast Eagles and Adelaide Crows, the Tigers had to beat the Saints to keep their slim Finals' chances alive. After Round 14, Richmond held a 3-10 win-loss record, placing them 16th on the AFL premiership ladder. Fast forward to Sunday, and as the Tigers ran out onto the hallowed turf of the MCG, a win would send them to 11-10 and into the Top Eight with one round to play.

Tigers Roar for Four
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Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

The Sunday special this week belonged to Richmond and St Kilda, two clubs with differing fortunes and vastly different short term futures. The Saints, only a couple of years removed from a Grand Final appearance, seem to have bypassed their potential Premiership window as their older players move away from their prime. The Tigers on the other hand, have put a dark recent past behind them, forging a bright future on the back of 60,000 plus members and a three game winning streak that should help them build towards their first Finals appearance since 2001. The sideshow to every St Kilda versus Richmond clash is the match up of gun forward cousins in Nick (St Kilda) and Jack (Richmond) Riewoldt, with Jack having the better of the spoils over the last few contests including a seven goal haul the last time these two teams met. Tiger young gun Nick Vlastuin was a late withdrawal prior to game time, while St Kilda were without feisty goal sneak Stephen Milne after off field issues that could potentially end a tumultuous but effective career.

Milne Suspended After Police Charges
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chciago

In 2004, a 19 year old woman accused St Kilda footballers Stephen Milne and Leigh Montagna of rape. The incident allegedly happened at Montagna's home after the club's family day. No charges were ever laid against the pair once the investigations were completed. In 2010, the Office of Police Integrity reviewed the case after two former policemen revealed that their investigation, even though done by the book, had been compromised. The OPI was concerned that the investigation had been interfered with, and their review revealed that the initial investigations had been flawed.

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