Montana McKinnon - the Pride of South Australia
Updated: Apr 8
"Definitely just go for it and put in 100% every game and training. If you work hard enough you could get there too."
If you were to ask recent AFLW draftee Montana McKinnon if she had ever dreamt of reaching the position she is in today, her answer may shock you.
“Nah I just wanted to try it out for a bit of fun and for something different. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2018 when it all picked up and became really serious.”
The only reason it is so shocking, is because it is hard to imagine just how serious her career has managed to become in the past two years.
Going from Morphettville Park to the national stage in just three seasons seems remarkable; but for anyone who has seen the humble ruck play, it is a little less surprising.
And this is because week in and week out, Montana would go out onto the footy field and put on impressive displays.
Becoming an integral part of South Adelaide’s back to back Premiership side; 2019 alone saw her finish the home and away season with 136 hit outs from just nine games, which saw her finish overall fifth in the league.
However, it is her impressive marking skills that makes her stand out from the rest, as she topped the league in total contested marks for this season.
But as impressive as all of this is; what makes Montana truly special is the fact that none of this has gone to her head.
Despite a numerous amount of success in just two years, she is still the humble Morphettville Product that loves the game.
“Yeah I just love playing a team sport and getting to play alongside a good bunch is really rewarding. Also love the physicality of the game.”
In fact, she is that laid back that you would not even be able to tell that she is a two-time U18 All-Australian (2018 & 2019) unless you got to see her play.
Just to put into perspective how far Montana has come in just the past three years; 2017 saw her claim a Premiership with both Morphettville Park’s U18s and South Adelaide’s U17s.
But like she said earlier, it wasn’t until 2018 and onwards that things began to get serious; and that is because not only did she play in back to back SANFLW Premierships while also being one of the youngest in the side; but she also earned a spot in the AFLW Academy.
“The AFLW Academy was a big highlight as it was a really great experience and I felt like I got a lot out of it; and I can’t go past both of the South Adelaide Premierships.”
But of course, Montana’s career doesn’t stop there; as 2019 also saw her captain the Central Allies and claim the U18s Girls Youth Champs MVP.
And after all of this hard-work and success; her dream finally became a reality when she was drafted by the Adelaide Crows with their first pick, and 14th overall in the 2019 AFLW Draft.
“Hearing my name called out was kinda of just a relief that all the hard work paid off. But I definitely got goose bumps walking up to the stage.”
And it seems like the AFLW is a perfect fit for the talented youngster.
“Absolutely love it. Onto our third week now and everybody from players and coaches have been so welcoming for all of us new players. It’s a really good team environment and I can tell I’m going to really enjoy this season.”
While getting drafted was the latest chapter in an impressive journey that saw her go from a local footballer to a two-time U18 All-Australian and back to back SANFLW Premiership player, it wasn’t her last achievement for 2019.
And that is because she was nominated for the 2019 SA Junior Sports Star award; and considering everything we have just mentioned, it isn’t a surprise that she ended up winning the award.
“I was really shocked. I hadn’t actually heard about it until I got nominated. I searched up what it was all about and saw some big names as previous winner so to be now amongst that list is a huge honour.”
At the end of the day, Montana’s journey is impressive no matter how you look at it, and while she would like to thank her “state coaches and South Adelaide coaches” for helping her along this outstanding path, we can only dream of what she is capable of next.
“My goal at the moment is to focus on pre-season and do all the right things to hopefully look at playing round one.”
And while we are excited to see her play on the national stage, we are also excited to see what happens next.
Because as far as we are concerned; Montana McKinnon’s impressive journey is only just beginning.
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None of these photographs are owned by MWM, all have been supplied by the player and are personally taken.