Rigter feeling strongest in years ahead of huge 2023

STURT captain Maya Rigter has not had much luck when it comes to continuity from injury, after multiple ankle operations restricted her past few seasons. After being a promising teenager a few years back and showing some incredible form as an inside midfielder in the early years of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s, Rigter suffered back-to-back navicular injuries which hampered her for the best part of the last couple of years. Fast forward to 2023, and the midfielder-turned-defender is ready to make up for lost time.

“I think I definitely improved towards the backend of the season,” Rigter said. “Just with not doing a full preseason pretty much four weeks of full training, it takes a while to get the game sense back up. It’s not so much the fitness, I feel okay in that regard, it’s just being able to read the play again. But I did have another op this off-season so it’s been the last three years so I’ve only just gone back to full training.”

Able to compete in preseason testing for the first time in a long time, Rigter did still have an operation over the off-season, but said it was more of a clean up than anything serious. Having done a power of work prior to the operation with her running, the Sturt leader said she was more confident heading into the new season.

“The first two ops were navicular so they’re renowned for being pretty poor on it and it’s a good six to eight month recovery,” Rigter said. “Whereas this has just been an ankle reckon something that had been niggling me for a while, so good to get that done and definitely feeling a lot better this preseason. Got 250k’s under my belt before the op, so feeling a lot better and just got to get that speed back up now is the final touch.”

Over the past few seasons, Rigter has played in defence, often used as a composed figure with ball-in-hand. Though her production and indeed ability to run out games consistently was hampered by injury, Rigter has learnt plenty from her role, and is excited about the possibility of playing a dual role this season.

“Defence has been great, it’s been a really good learning curve to play a different position and you do learn to appreciate the intricacies of football and the different craft that comes with every position,” Rigter said. “But I think midfield is something that I’d like to get back to because I feel like I’ve got the ability fitness wise and skill wise to be able to do that, whether it’s a bit of mid and a bit of defence work as well. I feel like this year I can definitely get back to this point.”

Last season Rigter got the chance to play alongside sister Abbey, albeit with the teenager playing up the other end of the field. Thought admittedly there are challenges with playing alongside a sibling, Rigter said she had enjoyed it.

“Training’s been interesting, sometimes it gets a bit heated,” Rigter said. ‘I think it will with any sibling. It’s been good because we push each other to be the best. Maybe that rubs Abbey up the wrong way as well.

“We’re different people but it’s really good because we’ve got that competitive environment where we do strive to be the best for ourselves and for each other so we’re always pushing each other which has been great.”

On a team level, Rigter is hoping that Sturt can repeat the feat of reaching the SANFL Women’s Grand Final this season, but ideally lift the premiership cup aloft.

“I think the first four years we’d only two or three games a season and then last year or 2022 went out and won four in a row and finished with seven or eight wins for the year which is a lot more than we’d previously done,” Rigter said. “Really positive improvement for us, but this year aiming to do the same thing again just continuing to build and that should get us there and hopefully we go one step further this year.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments