SWFL 2022: Horrific injury to Jett Rigby sours intense Bunbury derby qualifying final

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisBunbury Herald
Kade Wallrodt punches the air after kicking the sealer on Sunday.
Camera IconKade Wallrodt punches the air after kicking the sealer on Sunday. Credit: Justin Fris/South Western Times

Ordinarily, South Bunbury’s remarkable fightback during their 12.13 (85) to 11.6 (72) win over Bunbury in Sunday’s intense qualifying final at Hands Oval would be remembered by all of those in attendance.

However, it will be likely the horrific leg injury suffered by Bunbury’s Jett Rigby that will stick in the memory.

Hearts were in mouths as Rigby went down on the outer side wing at the 21-minute mark of the first quarter.

It became immediately apparent his injury was serious and trainers from both clubs burst out on to the ground with a stretcher for him.

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Incredibly, there was a 10-minute pause in proceedings as officials initially appeared hampered in their ability to carry Rigby off on the stretcher through the nearest oval perimeter gate.

Once he was safely off the field of play, concerned family and officials waited alongside the talented youngster until an ambulance arrived.

Unfortunately for Rigby and his family, it did not reach him until the 22-minute mark of the second term.

Bunbury confirmed on Monday morning Rigby had suffered a major compound fracture which will likely require him to undergo substantial surgery and rehabilitation.

The Bulldogs had begun the game like a whirlwind, with their tackling pressure and appetite for playing positive football shining through.

Before South had time to blink, the Bulldogs had bolted out to an 18-point lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Minutes before Rigby’s tragic injury, the Tigers registered their first goal of the day courtesy of Ethan Nordahl — and the added break, although unwelcomed by everyone due to the nature of it, helped the home side reset.

Over the following two quarters, the Bulldogs continued to control the game and stretched their lead out to a game-high 29 points at the 23-minute mark of the second term after Scott Doncon kicked truly.

However, the Tigers collectively lifted their work rate in the second half and as brave as the Bulldogs were, they began to fall away somewhat in the closing stages.

South hit the front for the first time in the game at the 23-minute mark of the final term through skipper Kevin Chitty before Kade Wallrodt sealed their victory a short term later.

With their victory, South Bunbury now travel to Gloucester Park on Saturday to face Augusta-Margaret River in the second semifinal. The winner of this game directly goes to the grand final.

The Bulldogs will host the Harvey Bulls on Sunday at Payne Park in the first semifinal.

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