Cricket Tasmania’s High Performance Talent Manager and current Big Bash cricketer (Sydney Thunder) Ben Rohrer, explains the new Tasmanian Roar women’s squad that will head into the 2018-19 Women’s National Cricket League season looking for much better on-field performances…

2018-19 TASMANIAN ROAR WOMEN’S SQUAD

Full State Contract (14)

Stefanie DAFFARA
Ashley DAY
Erin FAZACKERLEY
Katelyn FRYETT
Corinne HALL
Brooke HEPBURN
Emma MANIX-GEEVES
Sasha MOLONEY
Meg PHILLIPS
Veronica PYKE
Celeste RAACK
Georgia REDMAYNE
Emma THOMPSON
Courtney WEBB

New Players (3)

Ashley DAY – New South Wales
Emma MANIX-GEEVES – Riverside & New Town Cricket Clubs
Sasha MOLONEY – University Cricket Club

No Longer Contracted (3)

Emily DIVIN (retired)
Isobel JOYCE
Laura WRIGHT

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It looks like the bulk of the Roar squad has stayed together which is a good win when you’re trying to build a successful team?

Yeah definitely. Obviously after last year’s season (WNCL 2017-18: 0 wins / 6 losses) it’s been a big focus for the organisation to put a lot of resources behind our female program this year.

It’s really exciting to keep a core group to see what they can do with increased resourcing and a better coaching structure – we’re putting an extra coach in place as well.

So they’ll have everything at their disposal this year and the really exciting part for the players is that the majority of them will be here through the pre-season.

In the past it’s been fly-in fly-out, and we’ve only had five or six girls here for training during the winter, so it’s tough to build anything with those sorts of numbers.

So we’ll be looking to have 12-14 here throughout the pre-season which should really create that high performance culture that we’re after.

Did the previous club structure mean that they couldn’t be competitive before?

Not necessarily – it was just really tough with the funding for one, not having enough coaching and ‘hands on deck’ and that sort of thing to help was probably the big component.

And then the other part was the ‘fly-in fly-out’ lead-up – it’s very hard to create a team environment with only five players here for the majority of the time.

So the girls would come in only a week or so before their first WNCL game and we’d try to create their culture within the space of a week which can be quite tough to do.

Isobel Joyce is obviously a great player and she’s not out of the squad based on form presumably. Was she unavailable?

Yeah Issy was a tough one for us.

Obviously she’s been fantastic for Tasmanian cricket and an excellent player and a great leader around the group, and she’s set that standard of professionalism that we want to get to with our program.

It’s just a matter of not being able to have her here for long enough to warrant giving her a contract, where we can give that opportunity to another up-and-coming young Tasmanian, in someone like Emma Manix-Geeves.

So we felt that was better use for the contract.

However, Isobel may still be used in games if she’s available around her international commitments – so that’s a possibility as well.

Can you tell us a little bit about Ashley Day?

Ashley is a very exciting young top order batter or opening batter from New South Wales.

She did really well in the Under-18s Championships this year and really well in premier grade cricket in Sydney.

She’s one just on the fringes of their squad, which is an extremely strong squad, and they were pretty keen to keep her up there.

But she’s jumped at the opportunity, and similar to Gurinder Sandhu coming to our men’s Tigers squad from Sydney, it was in the space of 24 hours that she said yes and is coming down for the pre-season.

So we’re really excited with – not only her – but there’s a group of young players in that line-up who’ve had Australian representation within the last year – in Georgia Redmayne, Erin Fazackerley, Emma Manix-Geeves and Courtney Webb.

So there’s the base of a really strong good young team there and we’ve got some older players around them who can hopefully help them develop through the pre-season.

How important are those coaching changes going to be in trying to turn things around?

Yeah we’ve got to make sure we get the right people and their new Head Coach Salliann Briggs has been extremely impressive in her interview process and what she’s done to date.

And while working in her other job at the same time at the moment – she doesn’t get here till June – but all her planning and preparation is second to none from what I’ve seen so far, so that’s a really good start.

Now we’re looking for the Assistant Coaches and that’s something we don’t want to rush into and get the wrong person in early.

We want to make sure we get people who are going to be committed to the program and really want to drive it forward and into that professional era where women’s cricket is heading.

How much do these women stand to earn with these full-time State contracts in this new environment?

If they’re playing both forms (WNCL Limited Overs and WBBL T20) it’s sort of the equivalent to a men’s rookie contract at the minimum and it goes up from there.

There’s a bit of flexibility with the WBBL but the State-based contracts are standard around the country for all the girls.

So it’s not huge money but it’s enough to get by while they’re studying and they can work part-time, but obviously cricket can now be their priority.

How do you foresee that changing with the professionalisation of women’s cricket?

From Cricket Tasmania’s perspective with funding and resourcing we want to get to parity with the men’s eventually.

From Cricket Australia and the whole organisation’s point of view with contracts, that’s slowly going to go up over the MOU and depending how it goes commercially, that may change for the next MOU in terms of how high it can get.

Erin Fazackerley is just starting to realise her potential as a cricketer – what do you see in the future for her?

She’s really exciting for us and obviously you can’t look at her and not think she could become a good fast bowler.

She’s got the height and I know Cricket Australia put eyes on her really early in the pre-season and have got her involved in everything they can.

She’s in the National Performance Squad this year and as she gets older and older, she’ll grow into her body a bit more.

You see that with the tall male fast bowlers as well – it takes them until they’re into their early twenties to actually fill out a bit and gather that strength and coordination to be able to fulfil their potential.

So she’s a good one for the future.