Renegades revival continues with Saker exit

Coach has contracted terminated a year early with club set for major overhaul with new captain following veterans' retirements

Melbourne Renegades have parted ways with David Saker as the club seeks a fresh start next season with a new captain and head coach.

With former skipper Nic Maddinson dropped halfway through last season and now returning home to NSW for the 2024-25 summer where he is also set to join Sydney Thunder, the Renegades will have two new leaders in KFC BBL|14 after today confirming head coach Saker's contract had been terminated a year early.

It comes after another tough Big Bash campaign for the embattled Renegades who won just two games in BBL|13 to finish seventh, ahead of only the Thunder.

Renegades general manager James Rosengarten said the decision was made in the club's best interests and as part of their ongoing review into the BBL|13 season.

"The Renegades as a club, and our members and fans, have very high expectations; our performance (last) season did not align with our commitment to achieving ultimate success," Rosengarten said in a statement.

"It was therefore in the club's best interests that we make changes that give us the best chance of success moving forward – that includes a change of leadership in our senior coaching position.

"On behalf of the club and our players, I'd like to thank David for his service to the Renegades across four seasons. We recognise the energy and experience he has brought to the role, and we thank him for his efforts and passion."

The club has won just 19 of their 63 completed matches since current Australia men's coach Andrew McDonald steered them to the BBL|08 title in February 2019, and have missed the finals in four of the past five seasons.

Saker replaced Michael Klinger in 2021 for his second stint as Renegades head coach after previously leading the club in BBL|05 before taking an assistant role with the Australian men's side in mid-2016.

They finished last in his first season at the helm before returning to the finals in BBL|12 after transforming their young list into one of the most experienced in the competition with the key acquisitions of Tom Rogers and Jon Wells during the off-season.

While that trend continued ahead of BBL|13 with the club bringing in Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle, they went backwards last season, which proved the final straw for Saker's tenure in charge.

The 57-year-old former Victorian and Tasmanian paceman is a well credentialled coach in global cricket and spent time working as an assistant with the England men's team at both the ODI and T20 World Cups and last year's Ashes during his three years in charge of the Renegades. He finishes his second coaching stint at the club with a win-loss record of 12-23.

Saker was part of England's coaching staff during the 2023 Ashes // Getty

Victoria Sheffield Shield skipper Will Sutherland is the frontrunner to take over the full-time captaincy having stepped in last season after Maddinson was left out of the playing XI.

With Melbourne Stars also missing the BBL finals for the past four seasons, along with the state's two WBBL teams for the past two seasons, Cricket Victoria is on the hunt for two T20 high performance managers to try and lift their struggling Big Bash franchises.

The Renegades have strengthened their top order batting during the off-season following the retirements of veterans Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh, luring big-hitter Josh Brown from reigning champions Brisbane Heat to set up a mouthwatering combination with breakout Indian Premier League star Jake Fraser-McGurk next Big Bash season. 

"After reaching finals in BBL|12, we were disappointed to not build on that in the way we expected this season," Rosengarten said in a letter to members after the season.

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"We are well aware we didn't get the most out of our talented list and our deep review into the season has identified areas we need to improve.  

"These are both on and off-field and we are committed to addressing each of these areas and working tirelessly to elevate our performances." 

Melbourne Renegades BBL|14 contract list (so far): Josh Brown, Harry Dixon, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Nathan Lyon, Kane Richardson, Tom Rogers, Will Sutherland, Adam Zampa 

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