Western Pride captain Jesse Rigby.
Western Pride captain Jesse Rigby. Chris Simpson

Injured captain sad to see football mentor off to Hong Kong

WAITING anxiously for a possible return, Western Pride captain Jesse Rigby is doing everything he can to rejoin his teammates.

The apprentice carpenter is back at work and following an exercise program to strengthen his lower right leg after damaging ligaments earlier in the state league season.

Rigby, 20, suffered a rare injury during Pride's 5-0 win over Redlands United.

"I'm as positive as I can be,'' he said.

"I'm a few weeks out still, maybe two or three. I'm hoping two.''

The quality midfield/defender was trying to be patient. "I've never really had many injuries so it's pretty frustrating,'' he said.

His rehabilitation includes calf raises and body weight squats.

Rigby wore an ankle brace for a few weeks before having that removed.

While recovering, he has displayed his team spirit and leadership qualities by attending recent matches to encourage his teammates.

"It's been good to watch. Everything is going pretty good,'' he said.

"The Strikers' game was really good I thought.''

Pride won that high quality showdown 1-0 in one of the best games of this year's National Premier League competition.

But as the Western Pride players enjoyed a weekend free from state league duty, Rigby had another situation to reflect on.

The team has just farewelled head coach Graham Harvey, after he signed to coach Eastern FC in the next Hong Kong Premier League competition.

"He's made a huge contribution. It is sad,'' Rigby said, having led the side during Harvey's three-year stint at Pride.

Apart from Harvey's valuable team development role, Rigby appreciated his partnership with Harvey.

"He's been really good for me,'' the NPL Queensland grand final-winning captain said. "He'll be firm but allow you to play your way and help you along.

"He teaches us a lot of different things compared to coaches that have come out of the system. It's good to see and experience.''

Despite Harvey's untimely mid-season exit, Rigby wished him well in his higher level coaching opportunity.

"The whole goal is to go on and if he's found a window (of opportunity), you can't hold that against him,'' Rigby said.

Pride's next match is against the Magpies Crusaders, from Mackay, at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday night.