Whiteman eyeing more success for one of WA's 'greatest teams'

Western Australia skipper hails next man up mentality as they shrugged off injuries and absences to win their third straight Sheffield Shield

Western Australia v Tasmania | Sheffield Shield Final | Day 4

Sam Whiteman believes his present-day Western Australian champions deserve to be rated as one of the state's greatest-ever sides.

WA extended their domestic dynasty by sealing their third successive Marsh Sheffield Shield title and 18th in their history with a 377-run annihilation of Tasmania in the final at the WACA Ground in Perth.

Whiteman was named player of the match on Sunday for his first-innings 104 – his second ton in a Shield final after also scoring 123 in the 2021-22 decider.

He also became the fourth man to captain WA to two Shield titles, after John Inverarity (four times), Graeme Wood (three) and Tom Moody.

Wood raised the silverware in 1986-87, '87-88 and '88-89, and Whiteman believes his team belong in that same rarified air.

Three-peat! WA sealed a hat-trick of Shield titles on Sunday // Getty

"It has to be one of the great WA Shield teams," he said.

"There was a team in the '80s that won three in a row.

"No doubt we'll go alongside them.

"I think with the one-day stuff (three consecutive Marsh One-Day Cup titles) as well, we'd have to be up there with the great WA teams.

'It's taken the whole squad': Whiteman hailed WA's extraordinary depth // Getty

"Hopefully there's more success down the line."

One of the secrets to this squad's amazing title run, according to outgoing chief executive Christina Matthews, has been the depth created by producing Australian players.

Like in the late 1980s when Bruce Reid, Terry Alderman and Geoff Marsh were mainstays of the Test team, WA had seven players (Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Mitch Marsh, Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson and Marcus Stoinis) receive national contracts in 2023-24, while Aaron Hardie and Jason Behrendorff were also upgraded to a central contract during the season.

25 players have featured in WA's six title-winning teams over the past three seasons

"It's been about creating depth," Matthews said.

"Cooper (Connolly) was our 23rd player to play this year. It comes with producing Australian players and then being able to have more state contracts, because more of your players are on Australian contracts.

"It was something I really learnt being in NSW. Their dominance came from them being able to have depth.

"Being able to have 30, 35 players in your squad is vastly different to (only) being able to afford to have 18 or 20. That comes about when you're producing Australian players.

"That's been the secret in my mind.

"In the 12 years I've been here, we've had two exceptional coaches (Justin Langer and Adam Voges) and stability."

Unlike last summer when WA dominated virtually from the opening round, this season they had to scrap their way to the title, only sealing their place in the decider on the penultimate day of the home-and-away season by beating Victoria.

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Their No.1 batter Cameron Bancroft missed the final with concussion following a cycling accident, while attack spearheads Morris, Richardson and Matt Kelly were unavailable through injury.

"Everything went to plan last year – we won a lot of Shield games early and we were out in front," Whiteman said.

"We've had a tough slog this year with injuries and Australian selections.

"With Cameron Bancroft dropping out, arguably one of our most important players, the way others stood up and did a job for the team, it's a huge effort from everyone.

"It's taken the whole squad to win (and) I'm incredibly proud of the group."