The Weber WBBL09 season launched with a splash this week, as players from all sides warmed up in style, swapping their cricket balls for paintballs to create a mural in celebration of the occasion.
The season is set to begin on Thursday night when the Sydney Sixers host the Melbourne Stars at North Sydney Oval.
The fixture sees the WBBL returning to Australia’s biggest stadiums, namely the MCG, SCG and Adelaide Oval, whilst the inaugural overseas player draft is set to elevate the competition to new heights with big name international talent flooding Aussie shores.
The Sydney Sixers captain Ellyse Perry lauded the draft for its ability to bring in high quality talent.
“One of the big things with the draft is how evenly the talent has been spread across the competition,” she said.
“It’s just such a wonderful competition, it obviously attracts some of the best talent from around the world. It’s probably one of the hardest competitions too.”
More Cricket News
In terms of where their season is heading, she is just glad to be a part of it – and eager to kick off the season infront of their home fans.
“We’ve had some really exciting signings as well as a stable core group,” she said.
“It’s a really nice way to start off the tournament. There’s always a sense of occasion and a great atmosphere there.”
Brisbane Heat captain Jess Jonassen shares in Perry’s excitement, with the WBBL09 fixture granting her side more home games than ever before.
“‘It’s one of my most favourite times of year, the Big Bash – it’s always fun,” she said.
“It has its times where it can be pretty tiring with the travel, but from a Brisbane Heat perspective, we’ve gotten more games at home in front of our fans.
“Pretty much every game that we play at Allan Border Field is sold out, so to be able to bring more games [to the fans], that’s what I’m most looking forward to.”
Jonassen was lucky enough to avoid the splatters of paint that went flying as the WBBL09 mural was created, but she did appreciate the work to be on brand ahead of the upcoming season.
“It’s a really cool concept, it matches our updates kits from Nike. It’s very on point,” she said.
“There was a lot of confidence in our ability to be accurate without warming up.
“There were a few girls who were a bit concerned about whether their shoulders would be able to cope .. poor Georgia Wareham was stitched up a bit, her first one didn’t really splatter.
“She then threw the next one a bit too hard and I think it [splattered] almost everyone.”
The Melbourne Stars’ Kim Garth also ‘steered clear’ of any paint damage, but was more than happy to point us in the direction of a player to keep our eyes on this season.
“I think Rhys McKenna stands out big time,” she said.
“She’s super exciting and very talented in all three facets of the game.
“She actually captained Australia’s U19’s at the World Cup just gone – we’ve got so much exciting young talent, but she probably slips under the radar a little bit.”
Garth also admitted that the Stars – who managed only five wins last season – underachieved in WBBL08, losing their way with the bat. Though, their new recruit Meg Lanning is her tip to save the day in that department, whilst she too is looking forward to taking to the MCG.
“Something that stands out for me is the stadium games,” she said.
“That’s a big feature of this year is playing at better grounds. The whole competition is going to be a lot more competitive than maybe we’ve seen in previous years as well, so being a part of that – and hopefully some close games – is exciting.”
Whilst we’ll have our eyes on McKenna, Georgia Voll was tipped by Jonassen to be one to watch.
“‘Voll has been on the radar for a little while,” Jonassen said.
“She’s a young up and coming player and she’s an incredible talent that hopefully for us, if we’re to be successful, will play a really big part in that – she’ll be batting through the top-middle order and bowls a few handy off spinners, too.”
Perry added that Australia’s home grown talent “is like nowhere else in the world.”
“[Voll’s] versatility is going to be a pretty big factor for us and our team’s success,” Jonassen admitted.
Success is something all too familiar for the Adelaide Strikers, and Jemma Barsby admitted that their win in WBBL08 was “pretty crazy”.
‘“It ebbed and flowed throughout the game like we knew it was going to,” she said.
“We’re really excited to watch our documentary that comes out on Thursday night to relive it all.”
Her Strikers side is looking forward to building on their success, welcoming the opportunity to play in front of larger crowds.
“It’s something pretty special to play up at Adelaide Oval,” she said.
“Against the Scorchers, we usually have good tight games, so we’re really excited and I hope we can get a big crowd out there and put on some really good cricket.”
Tickets for the upcoming season can be purchased via Ticketek or through the Cricket Australia website.