The rapid rise of Risdon


As first full senior seasons go, Josh Risdon’s could only be described as stellar. But his rise to the top has not come without some major sacrifices.

As first full senior seasons go, Josh Risdon’s could only be described as stellar.

Having seen off the challenge of Scott Neville to make the right-back position his own, he started 20 consecutive games, of which Perth Glory lost only four in reaching their first ever Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

And while the West Australians ultimately lost out to Brisbane Roar, the 20-year-old enjoyed the consolation of taking out both the club’s players’ player and player of the year awards.

“Last season was a good one for me,” he said.

“I played a few games early in the season, then went back into the youth league, but when I came back up I kept my spot, we went on an amazing run of unbeaten games and ended up reaching the grand final which was an incredible experience for me as a young kid.

“Unfortunately we didn’t win it, but it was an overwhelming experience playing in front of that crowd in Brissie and I’ll never forget it.

“As for the MGP (Most Glorious Player award), I didn’t expect to win it and it was a great honour.

“I was very humbled to have my name on the trophy alongside some of those great names that are on there, but I was really more excited by the way we finished the season.

“Reaching the final was a great achievement by the team.”

Risdon’s rapid rise to the top, however, has not come without some major sacrifices.

Brought up in the town of Bunbury, 175 kms south of Perth, he left home at the tender age of 14 to pursue his professional football dream.

“By the age of 13, I was travelling to Perth four or five times a week for training and games.

“When I turned 14, I moved up to Perth to live because the travelling was just getting too hard for my parents and me.

“I lived with a guardian who was one of my dad’s mates for three years.

“It was a big choice to make and I had to pursue it because I’d given up a lot and I never looked back once I made the decision.

“I don’t regret it at all.”

Just four years later he was making his senior debut for Glory against North Queensland Fury in sweltering Townsville and his introduction to senior football was a far from gentle one, with fellow defenders Naum Sekulovski and Brent Griffiths both seeing red for the visitors during a feisty 1-1 draw.

“It was a pretty tough first game,” he recalled, “but it was a really good moment and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Everything stepped up a level, the pace, the physicality and the professionalism and it took me a while to get used to it.”

Risdon’s potential, meanwhile, had already made a big impression on Ian Ferguson and the Glory coach has been delighted at the young defender’s subsequent progress.

“When I first came here,” he said, “I saw his composure on the ball and the fact that he could get forward and use his right and his left foot.

“I saw a lot of things in him that I liked and to his credit, he’s come on in leaps and bounds and basically made the right-back spot his own.

“He’s got the respect of his peers and the coaches as they showed by giving him the two awards last season and he’s a very humble kid who keeps his feet on the ground and doesn’t get carried away.

“He’s got a great chance to go to the next level if he keeps working hard and doing what he’s doing.”