Former international fast bowler Sarah Aley retired after ending a stellar professional on field career with the Sydney Sixers last season.
Now, after six seasons of rivalry, she will turn out for reigning WBBL champions Sydney Thunder as an assistant coach/fast bowling coach under Trevor Griffin.
The Thunder gig comes as Aley last week began the role of High Performance Coach – Female Pathway at Cricket NSW.
Aley debuted for the NSW Breakers in 2005 and in a distinguished playing career that saw her represent Australia in both ODI and T20 formats, the South-East Sydney product garnered a revered reputation for her whole-hearted play and knowledge of the game.
The newly created Pathway coaching role will see Aley tasked with leading player development across both the Metropolitan and Country Pathways. She will be the Head Coach of the U19 Metropolitan team and will work closely with the other coaches within the Pathway system to ensure NSW continues to develop the best players in Australia and around the world.
Aley has long been developing her coaching skills to ensure she had a smooth transition once she called stumps on her playing career.
Over the past few years she has fulfilled the Director of Coaching role at Bankstown Cricket Club in Women’s Premier Cricket, was last year a playing Assistant Coach for the Sixers during the WBBL and earlier this year was part of the first intake of coaches in the Female Coaching Internship at Cricket NSW.
Aley, with her tongue firmly in cheek said the first Thunder vs Sixers clash in WBBL|07 ‘may cause some challenges’ given her storied Sixers career that produced two WBBL titles and 89 wickets – fourth all-time in the tournament’s history.
“I’m sure I’ll have to have some magenta undies on when the Thunder play the Sixers,” she said with a laugh.
“In all seriousness, while it would have been great to stay with the Sixers because of my history there – and I think everyone knows how passionate and loyal I am to teams I’ve played for – I had to look at the bigger picture of my career in coaching as opposed to my career playing.
“There is a wonderful opportunity at the Thunder for me to take on a fast bowling coach role – something I’ve always thought I’d do and something the Thunder didn’t have.
“Looking at Thunder’s list and bowlers, there’s some good experience there and exciting times with younger players like Hannah Darlington and Kate Peterson. I’m really look forward to working with Hannah to back up her amazing season last year.
“The Thunder are successful club and they are pretty keen on getting back to back championships. Hopefully I can help with the experience I gained from my playing career, defending titles and always trying to improve with added pressure, alongside the skill and tactical elements of my job.”
CNSW Pathway Manager Nic Bills said Aley’s well renowned commitment on the field transferred across to her coaching aspirations.
“Sarah’s knowledge and passion for the game combined with a desire to develop highly skilled players and provide them with opportunities to become future Breakers, Sixers or Thunder players shone through during the interview process,” Bills said.
“She has also completed the Cricket Australia High Performance Coaching Accreditation and will be a great addition to the Pathway coaching team and supporting Trevor Griffin at the Thunder.
“Sarah is now the second coach from CNSW’s innovative Female Coaching Internship program to progress to a full-time role within our system. The program is clearly having an impact and we are excited with what we can achieve in this space in the years ahead.”
Sydney Thunder WBBL Squad
Head Coach: Trevor Griffin
Contracted for WBBL|07: Rachael Haynes (C), Samantha Bates, Hannah Darlington, Corinne Hall, 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