Natasha Rigby is set for her 50th straight Westfield W-League match on Saturday and Perth Glory captain still has to pinch herself to check if what she has achieved is real.
The tenacious defender is closing out her fourth season with the Western Australian club without missing a single match, including appearing in two Grand Finals in 2016/17 and 2018/19.
Rigby will lead out Bobby Deportovski’s seventh-placed side against Champions, and second in the ladder, Sydney FC at WIN Stadium in Wollongong off the back of an impressive 4-2 upset win against Brisbane Roar in Round 12.
The Margaret River-born stopper has started all but one of 49 games in the purple jersey, when she came on as a substitute, and has only been subbed off on three occasions.
“It sounds a bit cheesy,” she she told perthglory.com.au, “ but my story fits in with the whole idea of never giving up.
“I played at State level when I was growing up, but I never dreamed that I'd be able to be a part of something as special as this.
"I just continued playing and doing my best and this is where I ended up.”
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Rigby came up short of capturing silverware, ending up on the losing side both occasions in the big dance, while agonisingly missing out on the Premiers Plate on goal difference in her debut season in 2016/17.
The 27-year-old paid tribute to Glory head coach Despotovski for plucking her out of regional football and unleashing her on the national stage.
“I’ve been thinking about my time at the club and how I have so much gratitude to Bobby [Despotovski] in particular,” said Rigby.
“He gave me my shot pretty much out of nothing and had the faith in me that I could compete at W-League level.
“To not have missed a game since I started has just been so awesome and I'm so thankful to Bobby and the club for giving me the opportunity.”
Ahead of the 2018/19 Grand Final rematch, Deportovski compared Rigby's accomplishment to something out of a Hollywood film script.
“Tash has played in every game for the past three seasons and this year as well and that is an incredible achievement,” he said.
“It's like something from a movie script. She moves up to Perth from a country town in Margaret River, plays in the State League, gets spotted by a professional club and ends up becoming the captain.
“That's what it's all about – providing an opportunity for girls to play and see how far they can go with their football.”
Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Saturday, 22 February 2020
Kick-off: 4pm AEDT