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Four 'possibles' to replace Seccombe at Queensland

With the reigning BBL winning coach calling time on his dual head coach role with the Heat and Bulls, we take a look at some candidates who might fill his shoes

Queensland Cricket is in the market for a new Bulls and Heat men's head coach after Wade Seccombe yesterday called time on his impressive seven-season tenure with the organisation.

Seccombe, a record-breaking wicketkeeper with Queensland in his playing days, won the Sheffield Shield in his first season in charge (2017-18) and again in 2020-21 with victory over longtime rivals New South Wales in a decider for the first time.

He took charge of the Heat in 2021 when the head coach roles were merged, and led them to a final in 2022-23 before claiming the title this summer. The Bulls however, collected the wooden spoon in the Shield for just the second time in the past 30 years, and have finished in the bottom three in the past three Marsh One-Day Cup tournaments.

"We will now go to market for the role of head coach of the Brisbane Heat and Queensland Bulls," said Joe Dawes, QC general manager of high performance.

"(We) are very confident that such a prime coaching role will attract some outstanding candidates who will relish the chance to work in this exciting program."

And so the conversation turns to who the leading candidates will be. Cricket.com.au understands the role will remain an overarching head coach position across both the Heat and Bulls, and we've narrowed our 'possibles' down to a top four.

Justin Langer

The highest profile of these potential candidates, Langer had a near four-year stint with the national side from 2018-2022 and was tasked with helping to restore the team's credibility following the sandpaper scandal in South Africa.

His tenure was successful in that respect and at times on the field – Australia retained the Ashes in the UK in 2019 for the first time since 2001, returned to the No.1 Test ranking in mid-2020, and won the T20 World Cup for the first time in November 2021, the latter coming after Langer had, reportedly upon the players' request, ceded some control of the group to his assistants.

Perhaps more pertinent to his credentials for this role was what he did at Western Australia. Appointed in November 2012, Langer took over a state that hadn't won a trophy in a decade and began plotting for sustainable success via five key principles and values: work hard, speak honestly, earn respect, celebrate success and respect the past.

"We were at rock bottom when Justin took over," Adam Voges told cricket.com.au last year. "The way he turned the program around was incredible."

In six seasons under Langer, WA collected five trophies (two one-day cups, three BBLs) and appeared in two Shield finals. The 53-year-old is currently in charge of Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League.

With Andy Bichel expertly overseeing the Queensland pace brigade, Langer's credentials as a specialist batting coach seem an ideal fit for a group boasting a host of promising batters who are yet to stamp themselves as state regulars.

On the flipside, could his intensity clash with the culture of a more relaxed Queensland group? Or having just collected the wooden spoon, might that be exactly what the squad needs? And would his long history with Bulls and Heat captain Usman Khawaja stymie or support his claims to the position (despite some challenging moments between them revealed on The Test documentary, both men say they respect one another, and get along well)? These are some of the questions the QC brains trust will have to consider.

Matthew Mott

A Queensland product, Mott represented the state 26 times as a player and was based in Brisbane during his record-breaking stint as head coach of the Australian women's team (2015-2022).

His success there, which included three world titles and a 26-match ODI winning streak, earned him the prized role of England men's limited-overs head coach, which he took on in May 2022. By year's end he had become the first head coach to steer both a women's and men's national side to a world title, with England's victory in the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Last year, Mott came under fire from the English press after his side's group stage exit from the ODI World Cup in India, while in 2024 his focus has shifted towards defending England's T20 World Cup crown.

Mott's calm approach, straight messaging, and empowerment of players seems to align neatly with the approach current Bulls and Heat captain Usman Khawaja appears to prefer.

The T20 World Cup factor could mean the Queensland vacancy has arrived a little too soon for the 50-year-old, who signed a four-year deal with the ECB, and has domestic pedigree in Australia, having won the Shield as head coach of New South Wales in 2007-08.

Ultimately it might come down to the levels of interest from both parties: Mott would likely need to accept a pay cut; and Queensland might have to be willing to wait to acquire his services until England's involvement in the T20 World Cup ends, potentially as late as June 30.

Ashley Noffke

The current Queensland Fire and Brisbane Heat women's head coach, Noffke began his coaching journey in Western Australia shortly after he finished his decorated playing career in 2010, with a two-season stint in Perth.

Another born and bred Queenslander, Noffke then joined the Bulls and Heat as bowling coach ahead of the 2011-12 season, where his long association with the QC coaching programs began.

During that time he also worked under Mott as an assistant coach for the Australian women's team in 2018 before taking up his current post in mid-2019. Later that year he won his first title as head coach with the Heat and in 2020-21 he oversaw the Fire's charge to a maiden WNCL title.

In the past couple of years, Noffke has also taken on coaching roles in the Women's Premier League (UP Warriorz assistant coach and bowling lead) and The Hundred (London Spirit head coach).

A deep, analytical thinker whose strong approach has both gelled and jarred with players, Noffke has also been pivotal in the development of a strong pipeline of talent in the Queensland female pathways system, a factor that could appeal to the QC heavy-hitters as they look to build sustainable success on the men's side.

Among potential candidates from within the QC organisation, Noffke looms as the front-runner.

Cameron White

A wildcard of sorts to add to this mix. White has no head coach credentials to speak of but boasts the finest winning record as a captain in Australian domestic cricket history.

The 40-year-old has worked under the auspices of the legendary Greg Shipperd (his former Victoria coach) in recent seasons, donning the sky blue of NSW in the past 12 months to do so, and retains his reputation as one of the country's sharpest tactical minds.

A big part of White's recent development has related to his communication and his long evolution from aloof young skipper to skilled man manager.

"Thinking about my coaching now, a lot of it is how you talk to players," he told cricket.com.au last August. "The tone you use, the language you use."

Like Langer, he is also well schooled as a batting technician, having notably helped Australia rep Matt Short deliver on his potential during his time with Adelaide Strikers.

At Cricket NSW, White has earned plaudits from Blues and Sixers skipper Moises Henriques for his tailored, one-on-one feedback to players.

"If you invested in him as a coach," observed his former Vics teammate Rob Quiney, "you'd get back in spades what you need from a playing group, and an organisation could learn a lot from him at the same time."

Ironically, White liked what he saw in the QC environment when he spoke on it prior to the 2023-24 season.

"They've got a lot of the old Queenslanders back involved, too," he said. "Obviously Wade Seccombe is head coach, and they've got a real closeknit group going on.

"If I was involved in a Shield set-up full time, I'd definitely be trying to create that kind of culture … if you're a state team now and you can somehow find a bit of that rivalry, or just keep your squad really together and get a bit of the old-school spirit back, I think you can get a bit of an advantage, just because of the way the world is these days."

The Marsh Sheffield Shield final will be broadcast live on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports, as well as live streamed free on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app.

Sheffield Shield 2023-24 standings

Team
Matches played
M
Wins
W
Losses
L
Drawn
D
No results
N/R
Deductions
Ded.
Batting Bonus
Bat
Bowling Bonus
Bowl
Total points
PTS
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 Redbacks South Australia Redbacks 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