WNCL preview: Mack's Meteors ready to build

The young ACT squad will bank on developing consistency under captain Katie Mack while other stars deal with the loss of their Australia stars during the season

The ACT Meteors have a habit of punching above their weight, and coach Jono Dean expects no less of the "young and bubbly" squad this season as they aim to build on their fourth-place finish last season.

There’s no doubt the Meteors are lacking some of the international star power of the other states, but Dean believes Katie Mack, who will step up into the captaincy role for Angela Reakes while she takes maternity leave, is well placed to steer the young group of players to some success.   

Mack and the entire Meteors squad will benefit from the experience and fast bowling expertise of new recruit Holly Ferling who relocated from Queensland to Canberra. 

Carly Leeson, who is entering her seventh year of domestic cricket, looks set to shoulder more responsibility alongside Mack and Ferling as the most senior members of the squad. The talented allrounder scored a hundred during the Meteors’ preseason camp in Darwin and will be a vital cog in the Meteors’ batting order, particularly with Erin Osborne’s retirement and Maddy Penna’s departure to South Australia.   

Dean is particularly enthused to see what teenage prospects Angelina Genford and Olivia Porter can achieve in state cricket after impressive pre-seasons.   

Last year's WNCL result: 4th (4 wins, 3 losses, 1 NR)   

Contract list: Angela Reakes, Katie Mack, Kayla Burton, Gabrielle Sutcliffe, Chloe Rafferty, Carly Leeson, Matilda Lugg, Olivia Porter, Rebecca Carter, Amy Yates, Zoe Cooke, Holly Ferling, Alisha Bates, Angelina Genford, Annie Wikman 

Ins: Holly Ferling (QLD), Alisha Bates, Annie Wikman, Angelina Genford   

Outs: Erin Osborne (retired), Madeline Penna (SA), Nicola Hancock (QLD), Erica Kershaw (delisted) 

Possible best XI: Mack (c), Leeson, Porter, Genford, Lugg (wk), Yates, Bates, Suttcliffe, Ferling, Rafferty 

Aussie player availability: The Meteors are the only squad with no Australian contracted players, therefore have the benefit of having the same 15 players to select their team from every match. While the lack of top-class performers may hurt the Meteors in the early stages of the season, they will be looking to build stability and consistency in their young squad as the season progresses, and potentially capitalise when other teams lose their stars to international duty at the back-end of the season. 

The inside word with head coach Jono Dean 

The pre-season: "We've had a really strong pre-season with a new group this year, a young group, which is exciting. We've been working extremely hard on our fitness and our athleticism. 

"We got an opportunity to go up to Darwin last week and spent some quality time together in some warm weather which was welcomed by everyone. We played a T20 match against a men's team, then we played two intra-squad 50-over matches up there as well. 

"I think having twelve games this year, everyone's just so excited. They're ready to physically and mentally ready. They're raring to go. 

"We've had a fantastic preseason, we got together, we achieved what we need to achieve. Now it's getting to the business end. 

Player to watch: "You can't go past Katie Mack. She scored runs up in Darwin and just showed everyone how good she is and how consistently she performs. She's also captain this year, so it was really fantastic to see her lead for the first time. She's calm and composed under pressure and it's great to see her making some decisions." 

Young gun: "Angie Genford made her debut for the Breakers last year and we've got her as part of our squad this year. She's an amazing allrounder and a great kid. She hits the ball super hard to all parts of the ground. She got 70 or 80 runs in our second match in Darwin and bowls really fast as well." 

Biggest strength: "We play a really aggressive and fearless style of cricket. The team’s got a license to do that and I just can't wait to see them play. We trust our game plan, we trust our ability as individuals and as a team. And if we execute on that, then we give ourselves the best chance of success." 

Areas for improvement: "Last season, we missed some moments that I think if you look back and reflect with some really critical moments across the season. As we know as coaches and players, winning is a habit. The good teams and the good players, they win those moments when they need to." 

"We continue to try and explore ways to help our players understand the game better and how to win those moments. If we understand the game better, and the moments that occur throughout games, hopefully we can execute better under pressure when those moments come.

"It's really about us starting well and just being more consistent across the board, which is going to be challenging for our young squad. That’s by no means a cop out, but it’s about how we bounce back and learn from those little mistakes. 


Sep 23 v Western Australia, WACA Ground (D/N) 

Sep 25 v Western Australia, WACA Ground 

Oct 1 v Queensland, Bill Pippen Oval, Gold Goast 

Oct 3 v Queensland, Bill Pippen Oval, Gold Coast 

Dec 18 v South Australia, Manuka Oval 

Dec 20 v South Australia, Manuka Oval 

Jan 19 v Tasmania, EPC Solar Park, Canberra 

Jan 21 v Tasmania, EPC Solar Park, Canberra 

Feb 10 v New South Wales, Wade Park, Orange 

Feb 12 v New South Wales, Wade Park, Orange 

Feb 17 v Victoria, EPC Solar Park, Canberra 

Feb 19 v Victoria, EPC Solar Park, Canberra