WBBL04 Season Preview | Sydney Thunder - BBL
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WBBL04 Season Preview

29 November 2018

Alex Blackwell

A closer look at Sydney Thunder's season ahead

Meet the squad

Thunder have retained the bulk of their squad after making the semi-finals last season, maintaining a strong mix of experience and youth.

There’s just one new addition to the team, teenage all-rounder Saskia Horley. This is her first WBBL contract after transitioning through the Cricket NSW pathway program and captaining the Australian Under 19’s T20 squad earlier this year in South Africa.

“It’s a very exciting time. Seeing [WBBL] on TV and now having the opportunity to be part of it is really exciting,” said Horley.

“I’m looking forward to playing at North Sydney Oval. In the past years I’ve been there in the crowd so it would be really cool to have people cheering for me on the field.”

Young keeper Hannah Trethewy will continue training with the squad and remain an integral part of the team.

“I just want to learn as much as I can. Obviously we’ve got Rachel Priest as our number one keeper and she’s got an immense amount of talent and a lot of knowledge, she’s been playing cricket for a long time so I want to learn as much as I can off her,” said Trethewy.

“We’ve got some new keeping coaches joining the squad too which will be really awesome to learn what I can from them as well.”


Thunder squad: Sam Bates, Alex Blackwell (C), Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Rene Farrell, Maisy Gibson, Lisa Griffith, Rachael Haynes, Saskia Horley, Harmanpreet Kaur (IND), Rachel Priest (NZ), Naomi Stalenberg, Stafanie Taylor (WI), Rachel Trenaman, Belinda Vakarewa

In: Saskia Horley

Out: Hannah Trethewy (Thunder Academy)

General Manager: Lee Germon

Head Coach: Jo Broadbent

Assistant Coach: Dom Thornley

Support Coaches: Trevor Griffin, Mark McInnes


Practice makes perfect

From WNCL to the World T20 to last week’s warm-up tournament, the Thunder squad have been using every opportunity to fine-tune their skills ahead of the season.

Maisy Gibson led NSW to victory over Victoria with a career best performance.



“I’ve had a really good pre-season and it’s been good to put that hard work to use during games. To come off with a player-of-the-match performance and the win for NSW was really good and hopefully I can take that form into Big Bash,” said Gibson.

Harmanpreet Kaur impressed with a spectacular 103 from 53 balls in India’s first game of the World T20, while a level-headed Rachael Haynes made the most of her opportunities throughout the tournament.



Back in Sydney, Naomi Stalenberg has been in red-hot form, smashing 100* from 55 balls and 80* from 46 balls in the warm-up tournament last week.



Determined to go one better

Thunder had a great WBBL|03, winning six of their first seven games and going on to finish second on the ladder. An atypical performance in the semi-final against the Scorchers saw them crash out of the tournament sooner than they’d hoped but they're back and determined to give themselves every chance to win the title this season. 

“It was pretty disappointing losing that semi-final. We didn’t produce our best cricket on that day but it was great to make the semis considering the year before we didn’t even make finals. It’s really exciting to hopefully go one step further this season. We had a taste of success in WBBL|01 and hopefully we can enjoy that again,” said bowler Rene Farrell.

There’s an added incentive to finish of top of the ladder this season. For the first time in WBBL history the tournament will feature standalone finals, with the top-ranked team to host both semi-finals at its home ground on January 19 before the final on January 26.


How to watch

In another WBBL first Sydney Sixers will join Thunder in ticketing all Sydney standalone games, an important step forward heading into the fourth season of the tournament.

“We’re professional athletes now and having to buy a ticket to come and watch a game reinforces that. It’s really exciting and another step towards what we want as players,” said Belinda Vakarewa.


The number of WBBL games broadcast live free-to-air will also increase to 23, seven of which will be Thunder games.

“WBBL has come along in leaps and bounds over the past few seasons since its kick off. It’s really nice to see it growing and growing and the new broadcast deal is going to do wonders for women’s cricket,” said Lisa Griffith.

The 36 WBBL games not shown on Seven and Fox Sports will be live streamed on Cricket Network through cricket.com.au and the CA Live App.



Thunder open their WBBL|04 campaign against the Melbourne Renegades on Sunday December 2 at CitiPower Centre. Watch live on 7mate and Fox Sports from 1:30PM AEDT.


9 DEC | vs Brisbane Heat | North Sydney Oval

5 JAN | vs Melbourne Stars | Blacktown International Sportspark

6 JAN | vs Melbourne Stars | Bankstown Memorial Oval