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It's rare these days for a professional athlete to have zero presence on social media. 

But the decision to disconnect entirely four years ago is one that One New Zealand Warriors winger Marcelo Montoya believes changed the trajectory of his life both on and off the field. 

Montoya has had a solid start to his 2023 campaign, scoring three tries across the opening six matches and running for an average of almost 170 metres per game. 

He has quickly become a fan favourite, praised in online forums and pages for his uncompromising attack and at times brutal edge defence - not that the man himself sees any of that chatter. 

“I haven’t really spoken about my decision (to stay off social media) before but for me it’s a little bit deeper than just not wanting to get criticised,” he said.

After a somewhat rocky start to his career with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, the 27-year-old often found himself mentally defeated by fan reactions online following indifferent team and/or individual performances. 

The emotional rollercoaster of seeing his teammates bogged down by it all ultimately led to his decision to disconnect entirely. 

“I went through a bit of a rough patch there at the Dogs a few years a go, we all did, and I wasn’t playing my best footy personally," said Montoya.

"Facebook I haven’t been on in nearly 10 years but I jumped off Instagram about four years ago.

“I just don’t like negativity, I don’t like seeing it I don’t like reading it - about anyone, not just me - that’s just my thing. I don’t need it.

“Everyone is always on their phones these days so I just like to keep my head up and stay off it. I truly think it’s helped me focus more on my family and my craft because I don’t have to ‘block out the noise’ I just genuinely don’t see it or hear it.”

He's closing in on his 100th milestone appearance, playing his 96th match in last Saturday's loss to the Knights, his 43rd for the One New Zealand Warriors since since joining the club in 2021.

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