Brown in demand as Renegades circle Heat opener

Head coach Wade Seccombe's exit may trigger more moves at the Brisbane club

Brisbane Heat coach Wade Seccombe's shock exit might not be the only significant off-season departure for the reigning champions with KFC BBL|13 finals hero Josh Brown eyeing a move south.

Brown wasn't one of the 10 Heat players signed for next season prior to the contracting embargo period and has been linked to the Melbourne Renegades, who are in desperate need of an opener following the retirements of Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh.

The 30-year-old bat maker from Brisbane's northern suburbs toured the Renegades' Junction Oval training facility during last week's Marsh Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Western Australia where he met with the club's general manager James Rosengarten.

The Renegades, who finished seventh in BBL|13, have cash to spend following the retirements of their veteran duo and appear in the box seat to lure the sought-after right-hander.

It's understood Brown also has an offer on the table to stay at the Heat.

Brown slams BBL's second fastest ton

The big-hitting opener lit up last season's BBL finals with a club record 57-ball 140 to put the Heat into the decider before backing it up with 53 in the final to help Brisbane to their second men's Big Bash title.

His electric finish to the season secured him his maiden T20 franchise stint overseas for Bangladesh side Chattogram Challengers where he immediately impressed with 38 off 23 balls in his first match, adding another two 30s in his six-game stint.

Under Big Bash contracting rules, clubs are permitted to make in principle non-binding agreements with players during the embargo period, but they cannot put pen to paper until the embargo lifts.

The embargo period commenced during the BBL|13 Final and runs for an indefinite period until lifted by league officials, though it is understood that is likely to happen in the next fortnight.

A week-long trade and retention window is expected to precede that, as was the case last season.

Former Australia and Heat men's coach Darren Lehmann could be interested into returning to lead the Heat after Seccombe yesterday called time on his decorated seven-season tenure at Queensland Cricket.

But it's understood QC bosses are not intending to split the Bulls and Heat roles and the head coach position continuing to oversee both men's programs.

The new Heat coach will have little room to change the makeup of the squad with 10 of their 15 spots for domestic players already filled for BBL|13, the maximum number clubs were permitted to re-sign prior to the embargo period.

Breakout fast bowler Xavier Bartlett, star allrounder Michael Neser and wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson were the last of the 10 players signed prior to the final, leaving Brown, Marnus Labuschagne, Max Bryant, Jack Wildermuth and Jack Wood as those off contract.

Labuschagne however, has only ever played for the Heat and is understood to be keen to return for a ninth season.

He is likely to be available for an extended run of BBL matches next January following the end of the men's Test summer.

Brisbane Heat squad for BBL|14 (so far): Xavier Bartlett (contracted until the end of BBL15), Spencer Johnson (BBL15), Usman Khawaja (BBL15), Matthew Kuhnemann (BBL15), Nathan McSweeney (BBL14), Michael Neser (BBL15), Jimmy Peirson (BBL15), Matthew Renshaw (BBL14), Will Prestwidge (BBL14), Mitchell Swepson (BBL14)


Out of contract: Josh Brown, Max Bryant, Marnus Labuschagne, Jack Wildermuth, Jack Wood

Brown played nine matches for the Heat last season (scoring 366 runs striking at 150) but was left out of the side when Aussie stars Usman Khawaja and Labuschagne returned from Test duties.

It means the club would be in the market for another back-up opener should Brown opt to leave.

Brown made his professional T20 debut in December 2022 after bursting on the scene with two centuries (147 off 68 balls and 159 off 59) in the space of a week in Queensland Premier Cricket's T20 Max competition.

"He's one of those players that can win you a game," Seccombe told in January prior to his departure. "So when you've got a player like that in your side, you've just got to keep rolling with them.

"They're going to win you a game on the back of what they do so you just accept there's going to be a few ebbs and flows on the journey, but you will cash in at some point in time."