23/04/2024
Sammy-Jo Johnson Sydney Thunder WBBL|07

Sammy-Jo Johnson celebrates a wicket for the Sydney Thunder. (Photo: Sydney Thunder - Twitter)

Sydney Thunder duo Sammy-Jo Johnson and Corrine Hall have previewed the side's next fixture against Brisbane, while praising the team's youth as they look for their third consecutive win of WBBL|07.

Following a tumultuous start to their title defence, the Sydney Thunder are on a winning run after a weekend of victories and two of the most experienced players on the team, Sammy-Jo Johnson and Corrine Hall both believe this form can continue against the Brisbane Heat.

Allrounder Johnson and batter Hall have been playing in the WBBL since its inception, however are relatively new to the Sydney Thunder setup – Johnson having spent five years previously with the Brisbane Heat and Hall, six years with the Hobart Hurricanes.

Entering her second year in lime green, allrounder Johnson appeared in the first two games of the season for the Thunder before falling to a hip injury. She returned for the side’s final two matches to close out the Tasmanian leg of their campaign, guiding the team to their first wins of WBBL|07.

Now moving on to Adelaide in preparation for their next three fixtures, the first of which sees Johnson coming up against her former team, the Brisbane Heat. She says it’s a contest that she can’t wait to play and will be even more excited when play gets underway on Sunday morning.

“I think that’s a fixture I always look forward to playing against my old teammates. I know those girls inside-out and they’re some really good friends in that side so [I] can’t wait to get on the park against them on Sunday,” Johnson told media on Thursday.

“Obviously you always want to try and beat your mates, [but] it’s about who can be better on the day. Obviously the semi-final last year, we got one-up on the girls so I think they’re gonna be coming out pretty hard to make amends for that performance last year. I’m hoping that it’s a good contest on Sunday.”

For Hall, her first year with the Sydney Thunder started with a bang, hitting 38 runs off 35 balls against the Adelaide Strikers. She understands the amount of firepower the Brisbane Heat have at their disposal ahead of this weekend’s game, however, her third-highest WBBL score (48) came against the Heat in WBBL|04 so she knows what it’s like to face a quality lineup.

“I think the Heat are a really aggressive team, they have a lot of people who can take a game away with both the ball and the bat so they’re a very dangerous team. Obviously, JJ (Jess Jonassen) leads the way with the ball and you’ve got someone like Grace [Harris] who can score a quick 100 off 40-odd balls,” Hall said to media on Thursday.

“We’ve just got to be disciplined with what our plans are and execute how we want to for longer periods in the game and I think we match up quite well to some of their batters as well so I think if we play the way we want to play, we’ll give it a good red-hot shot on the weekend.”

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While Johnson and Hall are two of the more experienced members of the Thunder playing group, each of them have still pointed out parts of their game that have needed improvement over the last couple of years. Coming into a team who are young and youthful, Johnson and Hall each gave reasons as to how they’ve been able to connect and pass on their knowledge to others, which in turn has helped them.

“The last 12 months have been massive for me, I just think I’ve got this understanding of my game, I don’t think things are too complicated anymore” Johnson said.

“I think I would, in stressful situations or big moments, [I] might not have had clarity. [Now] I think I’ve just got real clarity in my game and what I do under pressure and execute better and then to bring that into our group.

“We’ve got such a young and youthful group so I think just being calm in those pressure moments and being able to pass on my advice from the situations I’ve been in in the last 12 months, I think that’s really helpful for this group.”

It’s a similar sentiment for Hall who gave a glowing appraisal of the Thunder’s contingent of players who are at the start of their professional careers, saying she’s been welcomed with open arms and that she’s seen first-hand how well-prepared the national side will be in the coming years because of the breadth of talent coming through.

“I feel very fortunate to be a part of this club, I think I’ve felt very embraced and valued from the very moment that I signed on and it feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than I have so I’m very grateful for the way I’ve been accepted amongst the group,” Hall recalled.

“It’s great to be around the younger, very talented, athletic players who have got this really contagious energy about them and really want to get better and that’s sort of driven me a lot this season as well so I’ve loved every moment of being a part of the Thunder nation so far.”

“I think the game is in really good hands with the younger generation coming through, they play such a fearless brand of cricket but they’re also very dedicated to getting better.

“They’ve got lots of raw talent and I guess, for them now it’s about learning the art and craft of cricket and hopefully that’s something us senior players can help with and I think also just trying to give them a bit of balance.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the younger players coming through now, they’re exposed on a big platform so making sure they’re still being who they are off the pitch as well as on the pitch.”

The Sydney Thunder will look to make it three wins in a row when they come up against the Brisbane Heat at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, November 7 from 9:45 am local time.

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