AFL.Round 13. St.Kilda v Melbourne.St.Kilda’s coach Scott Watters on the side line with Leigh Montagna at the MCG.22nd June 2013.Picture Sebastian Costanzo. The Age. Photo: Sebastian CostanzoStar St Kilda midfielder Leigh Montagna could be on his way out of the club as he weighs up the prospect of on-field success elsewhere.
As they moved to dismiss speculation skipper Nick Riewoldt was open to a trade, the Saints expect the contracted Montagna to remain next season but admit there are no certainties heading into the trade period, as was reinforced by the Brian Lake trade to Hawthorn last year.
The Saints’ list manager Ameet Baines said Montagna, who turns 30 in November, was a fierce competitor and wanted to win a flag before he retired. But Baines admitted that was unlikely at St Kilda as a rebuild continues after winning just five matches and finishing third last.
”Guys like Leigh, Leigh in particular, are very ambitious and successful people and want to be part of ongoing success,” Baines said.
”No doubt, he has thought a bit about it from that perspective. In terms of him wanting out or a club wanting him to go to them, no one has raised anything with me.
”Trade week starts next week but I would imagine all sorts of requests … most clubs even the successful ones have spoken about being open to discussions.
”You stay open-minded on anything but how high a threshold that is, it remains to be seen. No clubs have raised him with us but one thing that should be made clear now that we have made those list changes of the weekend every primary list player is contracted.
”If anything is to happen with any player, be it player 40 on the list or player one on the list, it needs to be agreeable to the player and agreeable to the club. We certainly haven’t shopped anyone around.”
Montagna’s manager, Adam Ramanauskas, did not return calls on Monday night.
Carlton and West Coast are both in need of greater run and could attract Montagna’s interest.
The future of another veteran midfielder, Nick Dal Santo, is also unclear. It’s understood he met North Melbourne’s leadership group last week, and is open to a shift.
The Saints have offered former Kangaroos key defender Luke Delaney a three-year contract.
The club on Monday dismissed speculation Riewoldt could be traded, amid suggestions Collingwood had been interested in the reborn forward.
In a succinct statement, the Saints said: ”Nick Riewoldt will not be traded.”
While coach Watters is contracted until the end of next season, his long-term future is also unclear.
His hopes of an immediate extension will be determined by a review of the football department led by head of football Chris Pelchen.
As it rebuilds on and off the field, the Saints have revealed they sought a bank overdraft to be used to run the business.
With the AFL financial year not ending until October 31, the Saints believe there is a clause in a sponsorship deal that could yet reap a greater return, minimising any loss.
The Saints had an operating profit before depreciation and amortisation of $631,135 last season, a significant recovery considering they had suffered a $1.5 million loss in 2011.
”We have had a reduction in club revenue which can attributed in part to the on-field impact, winning three of the first 20 games, on membership and match-day revenue from crowds,” a club spokesman said.
”There will be no additional funding from the AFL to the club this season.
”We have increased our loan facility with the bank to manage our obligations. This has meant an increase in our overdraft limit … Our exact revenue for the year is unclear at this point as a sponsorship clause is yet to be completed.”
The Saints also need a new chief executive for Michael Nettlefold.
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