Hey Leigh, tell us a bit about yourself?
I used to play AFL football at St Kilda Football Club for 16 years and retired 5 years ago. I've absolutely loved footy my whole life, so I was one of the lucky ones to transition into the media side of it after retiring. I now work for Triple M and Fox Footy commentating, analysis work, as well as doing special commentating across AFL and more recently in the NBL. It’s great to say that get to go to work and go to the MCG while watching the football as that’s where my true passion lies. I now have a young family with my two beautiful kids, Noah who is almost 5 & Florence who is almost 2. They keep my wife Erinn and I very busy!
It’s a pretty hectic lifestyle from February to October during the AFL season with my weekends filled with work. But that's always been the case since I started footy at 18 years old - I missed out on a lot of weddings, 21sts, 3oths, 40ths, but that's just part of the job. When I do get some spare time, I like to play golf or go out for lunch with friends, or try find some quiet time or take the dog for a walk.
How did you get into AFL & was it always something that you wanted to pursue as a career?
I was like any other kid, I played AFL locally for my school and club. If you’re good enough you can get scouted by representative teams and then get selected for the draft. At school I didn’t mind legal studies and was interested in criminal justice and sports management. I’m not sure what I’d do if I wasn’t involved in footy, but I got some great advice from Eddie McGuire one day who told me ‘my masters degree was my 280 games, so you might as well use your masters degree to stay in an industry where you enjoy doing what you’re doing’.
What’s been one of your highlights & challenges you’ve faced?
It falls on the same day, the Grand Final. A highlight is playing two Grand Final games at the MCG against Collingwood and Geelong. It’s an absolute thrill. But it’s also the worst day of your life when you lose. It’s a roller-coaster of emotions and crushing feeling, because of all the work you put in and boiling down to this moment. It’s a bazar feeling to have the best and worst day of your life on the same day but it’s true. But that’s all about the highs and lows about sport and why we love it. I believe it’s the best reality TV you’ll ever get, because it’s so real because you don't know what you're going to feel or what result you'll get. It could be boring or it could be amazing - you just never know. That's why I enjoy the experience of spectating and commentating so much.
How does it feel to be a part of St Kilda’s hall of fame from the 150th year celebrations?
It’s pretty surreal to be honest. There are only 50 players in the history of the clubs hall of fame and over 1600 players. I feel pretty honored. As I said before the footy club is like my second family and it’s amazing to know that I’m a part of that club forever.
What are your thoughts on St Kilda’s chance this year on winning the 2023 premiership?
It’s been a real surprise and their chances were a lot higher than they were 6 weeks ago. I’m not sure that this will be the year but we’re hoping it’ll be soon. They’re doing really well and playing footy that’s making everyone proud. You can’t win every game but if you can make your supporters feel proud at the footy that’s all you can ask for.
What does a day in your life look like now after playing footy?
There’s a lot happening but it's flexible which I like. My days vary between podcasts, radio, TV and I do another day at another footy club too. There’s a lot of moving parts to it so I need to be quite organised, my diary is always a work in progress. I have to have to diary on the fridge for my wife so she knows where I am on what day. Also juggling kids in between that is pretty hectic especially on the weekends but I'm sure all young families can relate to that.
What would you consider your go-to outfit?
It’s pretty casual, I don’t like dressing up too much. I love a good pair of jeans, boots and a casual shirt, typically if we’re going out for lunch or got any birthdays coming up.
One pair of Wild Rhino’s you’re loving at the moment?
Bray – It definitely suits my style quite well and I'm looking forward to wearing it to a ew upcoming functions.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Early Bird or Night Owl? Night-owl
Knock off drink of choice? A beer or a glass of red wine
Favourite sport other than AFL? Basketball (NBA & NBL)
Favourite Melbourne restaurant? Ragazzi, a small little Italian restaurant in South Melbourne. That was my go-to meal before every game and I’d get the Chicken Spirelli
Favourite food? Pizza with a glass of red wine
Introvert or Extrovert? Extrovert
Stay up to date with Leigh weekly on Triple M and Fox Footy!