Carrigan may have been a curious choice to outsiders when named as a key leader at the start of the season but it reflects the esteem in which he’s held at Red Hill. He admits he was sheepish at first, especially leading a side with veterans like Darius Boyd, but has already allowed himself to enjoy the role as he starts to flourish both as a player and a footballer.
“It is something that happened naturally, maybe it’s just because of who I am. I’m quite personable and try to get on with everyone, I don’t really put too much pressure on myself or overthink leadership, especially in the footy world,” said Carrigan, who juggles final-year physiotherapy studies with his NRL career.
“Initially I was a bit worried. I grew up idolising some of the guys in the club. I remember watching Darius when I was seven and he was scoring tries in the 2006 grand final.
“To have a role like that so early was a bit daunting, because I didn’t want to not respect them in any way. I just want to play as well as I can and they have been amazing. Darius has been awesome. He said I was deserving and it was a good opportunity to learn.”
There would barely be a forward in the game that didn’t have a brief career as a playmaker in the juniors. Carrigan is no different. He was once a five-eighth but has matured into a robust middle who looks bound for higher honours.
He’s averaged 141m a game this season and knows he must lift again against the Roosters on Thursday night given the injuries that have hit Brisbane’s promising pack. Hooker Jake Turpin was the latest, with a suspected broken tibia that could see him miss six weeks.
“When you come into first grade it’s a bit weird … the goal is to try not to make any errors and get picked every week. When I was a junior, I played everywhere, five-eighth, so I’ve always loved to use the ball and be a bit skillful.
“But I’ve also loved the contact side of the game … I’m enjoying this year because I’m getting more confident and am loving playing with guys like Thomas Flegler and Haas and Fifita. I’m still learning but I don’t mind mixing it up old school.”
After dropping their first two games, the Roosters looked a different side against the Rabbitohs and will be heavy favourites to beat an undermanned Broncos to start round four.