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Angelos Lekkas (born 29 June 1976) is a former Australian rules footballer who played his entire professional career with the Hawthorn Football Club in the Australian Football League. After his premature retirement due to a medical condition he continued his sporting career as a soccer player for South Melbourne FC in the Victorian Premier League and Australian rules football coach.[1]

Early life

Lekkas born to Greek parents grew up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, played soccer until he was a teenager, when he switched to playing Australian rules and played with the Northern Knights under 18s.[2]
AFL career

Lekkas was taken by Hawthorn at pick number 17 overall (Hawthorn's first pick) in the 1993 AFL Draft which was a traded for Tony Hall (when Hall left the Hawks for Adelaide).[1]

After three seasons in the reserves, Lekkas made his senior debut in 1996.[1]

Lekkas forged a solid career with the Hawks, playing mostly between half forward and half back.

In 2002, he represented Australia in the International Rules series.

After a practice match in February 2005, Lekkas suffered an apparent minor stroke and was told he might never play again. After fully recovering, he made his return to AFL football in Round 15, 2005 against Adelaide.[1][3]

Lekkas announced his early retirement from AFL football on 26 August 2005, his last game being played at the MCG against Sydney on 27 August 2005.

Lekkas finished his AFL career with 180 games and 120 goals to his credit and a career total of 14 Brownlow votes.[1]
Post AFL-career

After Lekkas retired, he took up a lawsuit against the Hawthorn Football Club, claiming that the club caused his early retirement by pressuring him to continue playing after the stroke. The case was later settled out of court. Lekkas was condemned by some supporters for playing the case out via the media with his manager Jacques Khouri, given Hawthorn's apparent support of Lekkas and a lack of consensus that the injury was even football related.

Lekkas belatedly claimed a 50% salary bonus for having his career ended prematurely by injury, despite Hawthorn's offer of a new contract and his subsequent decision to retire as opposed to being delisted.
Soccer career

Lekkas was long a supporter of South Melbourne even donating to help save the club from folding. After retiring from Australian rules football, Lekkas began training with South Melbourne in late 2005.

During South Melbourne's 2005 season Lekkas was elevated into the senior list.
Return to Aussie Rules

After a period of disenchantment with the game, Angelo returned to work with the AFL in 2007 as part-time as a multicultural officer and AFL ambassador and also in a community liaison role at Hawthorn as part of the settlement with the club.

In 2008, he signed with the Sunbury Football Club in the Ballarat Football League.

He currently runs his own private sports tuition company.[4]
References

^ a b c d e "Angelo Lekkas". Hawks Headquarters. Retrieved 2009-04-15.

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