Each week this season, Impetus’ Ben Gilby will be grabbing an exclusive chat with either a member of the Perth Glory playing squad or head coach Alex Epakis. To launch the series, he caught up with captain Tash Rigby ahead of last weekend’s season kick-off (22/11/22).
Above: Tash Rigby in possession against Sydney FC last season. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.
“Sof(ia Sakalis) has been flying, Alana (Jancevski) has been on FIRE in front of goal, and Bella (Wallhead) and Hana (Lowry) have definitely been standing out! Abbey Green has come in and absolutely smashed training!”Tash Rigby on how excited she is about the form of Perth Glory’s young guns in training.
BG: What were the focuses on during pre-season?
TR: There was heavy focus on conditioning and Alex (Epakis, head coach) and the staff worked hard to ensure that every player has a clear understanding of their role and our playing style.
BG: Tell us about some of the new arrivals – what have you noticed about what they’ve added so far?
TR: They have all brought a new level of intensity, quality, and experience to the squad, not to mention they are all incredible people off the field.
BG: All of last season’s young guns are back and all of them had massive seasons in the NPL. How have you seen players such as Sofia Sakalis, Abbey Green, Hana Lowry, Bella Wallhead, and Alana Jancevski develop since they’ve been at Perth and any increased additions to their games you’ve noticed?
TR: They have all come in firing, it is evident that they have all definitely worked really hard in the off-season and have definitely come in on another level. Sof has been flying, Alana has been on FIRE in front of goal, and Bella and Hana have definitely been standing out! Abbey Green has come in and absolutely smashed training!
BG: Perth are going to have regular home games for the first time in three seasons – potentially how massive is that in terms of an advantage?
TR: We are so excited to have home games, it will be incredible to be able to have our members and fans supporting us as well as our incredible friends and family. It is also beneficial to us to just be able to be based at home from a recovery, routine, and support perspective!
BG: The team have all sorts of attacking options, but tell us about our defensive set up – the loss of Deborah-Ann de la Harpe, whilst for understandable reasons, is a big one. How do you see us from a defensive perspective?
TR: Losing DA was a big loss, but we are proud to have played our part in her journey. I think we are strong and have a good balance of experience and young talent. With the experience of Kim Caroll and her football mind combined with Liz Anton who has come in at the top of her game and Bella who has bought a new level of strength and athleticism to the backline, I think we will be solid.
BG: We have a new team this season in the competition, Western United, who have brought in some impressive players, how do you see them going?
TR: It is super exciting to see a new team enter the league. With signings like TJ (Vlajnic), (Jessica) McDonald, and (Chloe) Logarzo, I think they will definitely be competitive and shouldn’t be underestimated.
BG: Given the advantage of having home games again, a seriously strong squad – is Finals football the expectation among the squad?
TR: I think after just missing out on finals last year, there is definitely a fire in our belly and so we are all doing everything we can individually and collectively to put us in the best position to reach finals.