Underdogs Tasmania can 'prove a few people wrong': Wade

The top side for much of the season, the Tigers are undaunted by having to travel to Perth to face back-to-back reigning champs

Webster's stellar season has him 'next man in' for Test team: Wade

Matthew Wade is adamant "underdogs" Tasmania can continue their charge towards Marsh Sheffield Shield glory by ruining Western Australia's tilt at a three-peat of titles on their own turf.

After announcing next week's Shield final would be his red-ball swansong, Wade admitted there was some wistfulness that his bid for his fifth competition title will not be played at the home ground of his native state and club side (Clarence) in Bellerive.

Wade with his third child, Duke, at his retirement press conference on Friday // Getty

The Tigers fluffed their shot at clinching a final on their own terms after an upset defeat to South Australia at Blundstone Arena, their first loss there all season, saw them slip to second on the standings.

It leaves Tasmania, ladder leaders for most of the season, with a trip to Perth's WACA Ground, where WA have won the past two Shield deciders.

Wade, who won four Shield crowns with Victoria but is yet to win one with Tasmania, insists his side are undaunted.

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"Going into the season, the expectation externally was a lot lower than what we've achieved," said the 36-year-old who has delayed his departure for the Indian Premier League to play in the five-day match.

"It almost feels right for us to go over there – maybe people feel like we're the underdogs and we can't get the job done, go over there and prove a few (people) wrong again.

"The team's actually excited about the challenge of going over there."

Only three times this century has a visiting team won the Sheffield Shield final.

From the introduction of a deciding match in 1982-83 until 2018-19, the team finishing on the top of the standings only had to draw the match to claim the trophy.

A rule change that sees first-innings bonus points become a factor has since enlivened the annual fixture and made a path to victory for the lower-ranked team more achievable.

The Wade-captained Victoria team from 2015-16 that beat top-placed South Australia in Glenelg however remains the most recent visiting team to win the Shield.

Wade (right) after leading Victoria to the 2015-16 Shield title from second place // Getty

"It would have been nice if we could have done it here where it all started for me with Clarence," said Wade, who has taken on the role of opening batter in his final stint with Tasmania's Shield team, with the wicketkeeping gloves remaining with Jake Doran.

"But excited to go over to Perth and maybe get away from the green wicket (in Hobart) for a week and try to get some runs would be nice as well.

"They (WA) are a great team but the last Shield that I managed to win was the first time that an away team had won it in a long time, so hoping to wind back the clock and do it again.

"The rules of the Shield final changing as well makes a big difference – you play your best cricket in the first two or three days, then they've got to chase you. We're going to go over there and give them a real good shake."

In their planning to face Tasmania, WA's biggest headache will undoubtedly be Beau Webster.

The 30-year-old has put together one of the best all-round seasons in the Sheffield Shield's history, adding 26 wickets at 28.46 to his competition-leading tally of 914 runs at 65.28.

Wade suggested Webster's winter spell with Essex last year was a major factor in his standout summer and believes it should have him next in line for an allrounder berth in the Test side behind incumbent Mitch Marsh.

"Andrew McDonald was probably the only player that I played with who was doing what (Webster) is doing with bat and ball," Wade said.

"Just consistency, taking wickets when we need them, then he's piled on a heap of runs. I've been keeping an eye on it because obviously I got 1,000 (during the 2018-19 season) so I'm telling him he's not even going to get close to that (laughs).

"It's been phenomenal and credit to him – to make the decision to go to England and take a bit of a risk, get more cricket in ... I think Beau's the kind of player who needs to keep playing cricket.

"I would say if someone like (Mitch) Marsh got injured on a tour, then he would have to be the next one in for a batting number six who can bowl you a few overs, which is what that spot is. He'd be pushing for that.

"We try to drag him back down (to earth) here by not talking him up too much, so I won't be telling him that. He's been huge and hopefully one more good week for him, and he wants it more than anyone, I know that."

Sheffield Shield 2023-24 standings

Matches played
No results
Batting Bonus
Bowling Bonus
Total points
1 Western Australia Men Western Australia Men WA 10 5 2 3 0 0 5.53 9.4 47.93
2 Tasmanian Tigers Men Tasmanian Tigers Men TAS 10 5 2 3 0 0 6.06 8.3 47.36
3 NSW Men NSW Men NSW 10 4 3 3 0 0 6.31 9 42.31
4 Victoria Men Victoria Men VIC 10 4 4 2 0 0 4.74 8.2 38.94
5 South Australia Men South Australia Men SA 10 3 6 1 0 0 5.19 9.3 33.49
6 Queensland Bulls Queensland Bulls QLD 10 2 6 2 0 0 3.54 8.3 25.84

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

D: Drawn

N/R: No results

Ded.: Deductions

Bat: Batting Bonus

Bowl: Bowling Bonus

PTS: Total points