NEW CHALLENGE: Cameron Crestani will take the reigns from outgoing skipper Jess Rigby as the Western Pride club captain for the 2019 NPL season.
NEW CHALLENGE: Cameron Crestani will take the reigns from outgoing skipper Jess Rigby as the Western Pride club captain for the 2019 NPL season. Chris Simpson

It's Captain Crestani, to you

CAMERON Crestani will be the face of a new era at Western Pride after the centre back was named captain of the Men's NPL team for the 2019 season.

Last season's vice-captain takes over from the departing Jesse Rigby, who had previously captained the club for the past four seasons.

Former Brisbane Roar defender Crestani was stand-in skipper for much of last season with Rigby sidelined through injury.

Now officially named club captain, the 22-year-old out of Stanthorpe is excited at the prospect of leading a new-look Pride this season.

"As one of the better known teams in Ipswich, it's a pleasure to be involved in the community in this way,” Crestani said of the Pride captaincy.

"I just hope I can repay the faith the supporters and the club have shown in me. It's big shoes to fill, but an exciting time for me and the club, and hopefully we can produce what people want us to produce.”

With Rigby joining other much-loved Pride regulars Joe Duckworth, Adam Endean, Andy Pengelly and Will McFarlane in exiting Briggs Rd in the off-season, Crestani will be at the helm of a new-look Pride team this year.

He thanked his former teammates for their services to the club before looking ahead to this season.

"You have to thank those boys for all they have contributed to the club,” he said.

"Jess especially being a young kid coming through and being captain for the amount of time he was, at the age he was, and the way he led the team was on a different level.

"I'll bring my own style of captaincy, but with the same target of producing the best football we can produce. Ultimately, your on-field actions speak louder than words.

"They were obviously key players for us, but we've got some very good young boys coming through and a couple of quality signings.”

That last point is particularly important to Crestani, who feels his position in the centre of defence helps when it comes to on-field leadership.

"As one of the more experienced guys in the team, being at the back I can see everything and help steady the ship when necessary,” he said.

"If you can help coach on the field during the game you're halfway to winning. It's a good position as captain to be at centre back.”

The incoming skipper is excited at the prospect of working under new coach Sergio Raimundo and the club continuing its legacy of player development.

"Sergio won me over before he had even started as coach,” Crestani said.

"He was sending me videos at 2am of him playing my highlights, so I think he's definitely the right guy to go ahead with. He'll get the results and performances out of us. I have full faith and trust in him.

"We're probably one of the only NPL clubs with the philosophy of pushing the young boys through. Even last year in the semis we were playing with 18, 19-year-olds, while other teams had 30-year-olds.

"I think the youth development is key. It's a 28-game season, we'll need those young guys there with injuries and suspensions.

"We have the quality there, and with Terry Kirkham now working with the 20s, he'll get the best out of those young guys.”

Pride general manager Pat Boyle reiterated just how crucial a cog Crestani was to not just the senior men's team, but the club as a whole.

"Cam epitomises what Ipswich is about. He is a fantastic ambassador for our club,” Boyle said. "We couldn't think of a better person to lead us through the next phase of our football journey.”