Australian star Rachael Haynes will lead Sydney Thunder’s WBBL title defence after re-signing with the club for a further season.
“I just really enjoy playing for a club that stands for something and is aligned with the community in the way it is,” Haynes, who enters her third season as captain, said.
“I’m really excited to be around for another 12 months.”
Haynes, 34, has been at the Thunder since the beginning of WBBL and has been an integral part of two titles. The first in WBBL|01 then as captain for WBBL|06.
Last season’s success was made all the more significant by the unique situation of playing the entire tournament within a bio-secure ‘bubble’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was absolutely incredible to be a part of… an incredible achievement and I’m looking forward to building on that experience with this side,” she said.
“I’ve got a core group of players there, and I think the exciting thing for our team is that I don’t think anyone has reached their ceiling yet.
“I think we’ve got heaps of room for improvement and players are going to continue to get better.”
Haynes went to the top of the club’s WBBL run-scorers list last season passing the player she took over the captaincy from in 2019, Thunder great Alex Blackwell.
Blackwell, now Thunder’s WBBL list manager having been recently appointed to the position, said Haynes was a crucial signing given what she means to the club.
“Rachael is completely committed, and I think that’s what is quite inspiring to people around her,” said Blackwell.
“She continues to foster a really strong culture.
“All players, from my point of view, seem to be very clear on their role, are highly valued within the set up and are provided with opportunities to develop. That’s what I’ve seen Rachael do so well over the last couple of years.
“I was just so impressed with how she managed, not only herself and her own performances, but the group as a whole through what was a very challenging WBBL|06.”
Thunder is scheduled to begin its title defence against the Adelaide Strikers at North Sydney Oval on Saturday 16 October, before taking on cross-town rivals the Sydney Sixers the next day at the same venue.
For Haynes, to be back playing in front of the Thunder Nation this season, would be “really uplifting”.
“If we can get to the point at the start of WBBL, where we’ll be able to play in front of our home crowd and perhaps bring some joy to what at times has been a tough situation, it would be a fantastic way to hopefully come out the other side of what’s been a challenging 12 to 18 months at different times,” Haynes said.
Sydney Thunder WBBL Squad
Head Coach: Trevor Griffin
Contracted for WBBL|07: Rachael Haynes (C), Samantha Bates, Hannah Darlington, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Kate Peterson, Olivia Porter, Lauren Smith, Tahlia Wilson.
Sydney Thunder WBBL|07 Fixtures (All AEDT Start Times)
Sat 16 Oct | Vs Adelaide Strikers | 7:05pm | North Sydney Oval
Sun 17 Oct | Vs Sydney Sixers | 1:40pm | North Sydney Oval
Tues 19 Oct | Vs Adelaide Strikers | 3:40pm | Blacktown ISP
Sat 23 Oct | Vs Sydney Sixers | 3:40pm | WACA
Sun 24 Oct | Vs Perth Scorchers | 5:15pm | WACA
Sat 30 Oct | Vs Melbourne Stars | 3:40pm | Metricon Stadium
Sun 31 Oct | Vs Hobart Hurricanes | 10:15am | Metricon Stadium
Sat 6 Nov | Vs Melbourne Stars | 1:40pm | CitiPower Centre
Sun 7 Nov | Vs Brisbane Heat | 10:15am | CitiPower Centre
Tues 9 Nov | Vs Melbourne Renegades | 7:05pm | Blacktown ISP
Sat 13 Nov | Vs Melbourne Renegades | 2:00pm | Ballarat
Sun 14 Nov | Vs Perth Scorchers | 10:15am | Ballarat
Fri 19 Nov | Vs Brisbane Heat | 7:05pm | Great Barrier Reef Arena
Sat 20 Nov | Vs Hobart Hurricanes | 3:40pm | Great Barrier Reef Arena
Memberships for this summer go on sale from Tuesday 10 August 2021. Full Season packages start from $70 for Juniors and $105 for Adults.
Information regarding Tickets will be announced soon.