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WA preview: Settled squad eyes improvement

Western Australia have pinpointed areas for improvement as they seek to make their mark on the domestic one-day competition

Western Australia have a remarkably settled squad, making only one change to their contracted playing list for this season, with Sheldyn Cooper dropping out in favour of exciting young seamer Chloe Ainsworth.

The coaching group has seen more movement, with former WA batter Wes Robinson moving into the senior assistant role for head coach Becky Grundy, and former Victoria and WA seamer Kath Hempenstall moving into an assistant coach role with a focus on bowling.

In August, WA joined Tasmania, South Australia and ACT on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for a pre-season mini-series that allowed the states to have three hit-outs before the season proper in a mix of 50-over and 20-over matches.

Western Australia won twice, against reigning premiers Tasmania and ACT (in a super over) but lost to last year’s finalists South Australia.

After beginning last season with two wins over the Meteors, WA managed only two wins in their remaining 10 matches, which included a super over loss to South Australia, to finish the season in fifth position.

Their bowling through Lilly Mills (20 wickets), Amy Edgar (15 wickets) and Piepa Cleary (13 wickets) was consistent but their focus this season will be ensuring players capitalise when getting a start with the bat – the team from the west had the second worst fifty-to-century conversion rate (11 per cent), ahead of only ACT (10 per cent). 

Last season's WNCL result:5th (four wins, eight losses) 

Contract list: Chloe Ainsworth, Charis Bekker, Zoe Britcliffe, Matilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Maddy Darke, Ashley Day, Amy Edgar, Lisa Griffith, Alana King*, Lilly Mills, Beth Mooney*, Taneale Peschel, Chloe Piparo, Poppy Stockwell, Georgia Wyllie  

* Denotes Cricket Australia contract  

In: Chloe Ainsworth  

Out: Sheldyn Cooper  

Possible best XI: Chloe Piparo (c), Beth Mooney (wk), Maddy Darke, Mathilda Carmichael, Amy Edgar, Lisa Griffith, Piepa Cleary, Lilly Mills, Alana King, Taneale Peschel, Chloe Ainsworth.   

Aussie player availability: With just the two CA-contracted players on their list in Mooney and King, the WA line up won't change drastically when the internationals start.   

The squad are hopeful of having Mooney available for the opening match of the season on September 26, which is only five days before Australia's summer-opening T20 International against the West Indies on October 1. King isn't in Australia's T20 squad for that series so will be able to play both matches against Victoria. 

The inside word with captain Chloe Piparo

The pre-season: "We had the six-week break - it seems like forever ago now – and we all got stuck into it. A few older athletes got a few extra weeks, which was nice. Some fitness stuff, then skills as well. It's been it's been a good pre-season.   

"Always nice when we can get some games in (as well). So to head up to the Sunny (Sunshine) Coast was really good for the group and I guess it helps us reinforce that what we've been doing and working hard on in the pre-season has come to fruition in some of those practice games, which gives us confidence leading into the season.  

"To go up and play against South Australia, ACT and Tassie was really nice. We put some runs on the board in the first game and bowled really well on the second game, too. We put in some really solid performances over the over three games, which is exciting."  

Injury update: "We've got a couple of injuries that always seem to hit just before playing. We were fairly good in the in the actual pre-season (but lately) a couple of fingers got broken, which is just unfortunate. But we're still a couple weeks out from playing, so I think we'll be nearly 100% fit."   

Young guns: "I'm really excited to see what Chloe Ainsworth can do. (She's) just about to turn 18 and still at school at the moment, so hasn't really been able to train a ton with the main group, but has loved her opportunity when she has been around us. It was great for her to get up to Queensland and play in those practice matches. She's such a talent; so athletic and competitive and I can't wait to see with a full season under her belt what she can do."  

Key player: "Seeing someone like Tilly Carmichael and the changes she's made - when you see an experienced player take their game to another level, I think that's really exciting. And the way she's performed in pre-season, I think she could be set for a big year."  

Team to beat: "Obviously Tassie have set the bar pretty high. The past couple of seasons Tassie and South Australia have been the two teams to beat. They've obviously had really consistent seasons and consistent performances from the whole team. But I think anyone on any given day is good enough to beat anyone, so that's really exciting at the moment with the WNCL competition. It's really tight." 

Schedule: 

September 26 v Victoria, WACA Ground  

September 28 v Victoria, WACA Ground  

October 10 v South Australia, Karen Rolton Oval 

October 12 v South Australia, Karen Rolton Oval 

January 5 v ACT, WACA Ground (D/N) 

January 7 v ACT, WACA Ground (D/N) 

January 19 v NSW, WACA Ground (D/N) 

January 21 v NSW, WACA Ground (D/N) 

February 1 v Tasmania, Blundstone Arena 

February 3 v Tasmania, Blundstone Arena 

February 15 v Queensland, Allan Border Field 

February 17 v Queensland, Allan Border Field