Glory’s Rigby reinvigorated

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Justin FrisBusselton Dunsborough Times
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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: Natasha Rigby of Perth Glory in action during the round six W-League match between Melbourne City and Perth Glory at ABD Stadium on December 19, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)
Camera IconMELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: Natasha Rigby of Perth Glory in action during the round six W-League match between Melbourne City and Perth Glory at ABD Stadium on December 19, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images

It has been a whirlwind 12 months for Perth Glory women’s skipper Natasha Rigby, who has gone through a wealth of change on and off the pitch.

The proud Margaret River product has not only started a new full-time job, but she is also working alongside a new coach, Alex Epakis, who replaced Bobby Despotovski during the off-season.

Throw in strenuous COVID-19 protocols on and off the field and you could be forgiven for thinking Rigby and her teammates could be overwhelmed by it all.

However the ability to bank maximum points away in tomorrow night’s W-League opener against Adelaide United would provide a degree of normality they have been craving.

“It has been such a weird year,” Rigby said.

“We have been forced to be so adaptive, flexible and really malleable as well.

“ To have something (soccer) which is aconstant go-ahead in our lives this season — even if there has been a delay — everyone is really excited and grateful for the opportunity. It will be fantastic just to be out on the field.”

Although the 2019-20 campaign had some rough moments for the Glory, they rallied during the final month of the season, picking up nine points from a possible 12.

This sort of momentum can be priceless for a team heading into a new season and Rigby has full confidence that Epakis and his coaching staff can build on this solid foundation.

“We do have quite a different squad, just because we have not been able to get our main international players over,” she said.

“But we have picked up some really awesome Kiwi girls, and a few local ones.

“Alex has brought this awesome level of passion and direction to the team. He is a phenomenal communicator and has had a lot of success in women’s sport in the past, so we feel very privileged and honoured to have him on board.”

Although remaining dedicated to her training, the humble skipper managed to see her family and friends down in Margaret River over the festive season, as she aims to build on her impressive career once again.

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