Bub in the hub: Amazing Grace lights up WBBL Village
Melbourne Renegades' Kiwi pair are enjoying an unique experience in the WBBL bubble, with their 10-month-old daughter proving a star attraction
Laura Jolly in Sydney
28 October 2020, 05:12 PM AEST
When it comes to the most popular member of the Rebel WBBL Village, there is no competition.
Wherever she crawls, 10-month-old Grace – the daughter of Melbourne Renegades' Lea Tahuhu and Amy Satterthwaite – wins hearts and makes new mates.
With more than 140 adoring new aunties (and that's just the players) in the Sydney Olympic Park hub, Grace is never short of attention.
So much so, her mums are worried she might be a bit bored with "just us" when they return to New Zealand at the end of the competition.
"She's the life and soul of the hub to be honest," Satterthwaite told cricket.com.au. "So many people come up to her and she's just a ball of energy and brings a lot of smiles and laughs, so it's quite awesome to see her around the group.
"When you have that first tour you're not sure how it's going to go, but Grace is a pretty cruisy baby.
"She's happy to go to most people … I'm not sure that's a good thing but she's been really easy to look after, and it makes our job a lot easier.
"It's been really enjoyable and it brings a nice balance to having cricket and being able to come home and enjoy being a mum."
Renegades captain Satterthwaite gave birth to Grace, her first child with wife Tahuhu in January.
She made her return to cricket for New Zealand last month against Australia, before the trio travelled to Sydney to join the WBBL hub.
This is not the first time mothers have played in the WBBL; Sarah Elliot lined up for the Renegades in WBBL|01 and then the Strikers the following season, while Kelly Applebee was part of the Stars' inaugural squad.
Another Renegade, Jess Duffin, gave birth to her first daughter Georgie with husband Chris in June, and had planned to join the hub, but later pulled out of WBBL|06 after deciding she was not yet ready to make her return to play.
However, the added twist of quarantine and multiple hubs have added to the complexities for Satterthwaite and Tahuhu – but so far, they have found life is going smoother than they had hoped for.
"You don't really know what to expect, but Grace has been amazing and everyone around us from both the (New Zealand) team and the Renegades, and everyone in the Village to be fair, has made it really easy and been very accommodating," Tahuhu said.
"Everyone is vying for favourite aunty, and everyone is an aunty, which is great.
"When we get home she's going be like, 'Oh, I'm just left with the two of you know? Where have all my friends gone?' That'll probably be the hardest thing."
To help navigate those times where Tahuhu and Satterthwaite are at training or matches, the Renegades have enlisted the services of Melburnian Leigh Southern to help care for Grace.
Stood down from his job at entertainment and sports travel company Stage and Screen – where his role included booking travel for the Melbourne Renegades – Southern jumped at the chance to travel to Sydney with the club, via hotel quarantine, and join the hub.
"He's been really good, it's worked really well having that support and being able to trust someone to leave Grace with and be able to go off to training and focus on that and not worry about her back home," Satterthwaite said.
Like most things in 2020, COVID19 threw a spanner in the best-laid plans of Satterthwaite and Tahuhu, who had put plenty of thought into how they would manage life on tour with a baby.
Satterthwaite admitted of the pair, she was the one who held the greatest concerns – fears balanced out by a more relaxed Tahuhu.
That same balance helped Satterthwaite in her return to training earlier this year.
"Lea's a bit more, 'No, it's happening, and we will make it work' and I think that's a really good balance between us," Satterthwaite explained.
"She's been good in the sense of making me believe I could get back and get on the field as well.
"At times you have those doubts, but she's always been, 'No, you will get there', and you need that support."
A side strain has delayed Tahuhu's start to the WBBL season, while wet weather in Sydney meant the Renegades fielded for just 17 overs against the Stars on Sunday before Monday's clash against the Heat was a complete washout.
When they do take the field, they hope Grace will be in the crowd watching – provided it doesn't disrupt her nap time.
"It's hard leaving her (for training and matches) but we have a great nanny and we don't have to do it from 9-5, so we're really lucky in that respect – we get to spend a lot of time with her in between," Tahuhu said.
"When you're at cricket you're thinking about that, but as soon as that finishes you do think, I can't wait to get home and have a cuddle with Grace."
While they are reluctant to carry the tag of 'trailblazers', Satterthwaite acknowledged they are living proof to other players that it is possible to have a family and return to elite sport.
"When we got pregnant and decided to have a family, (blazing a trail) wasn't something we set out to do, but people do bring it up and acknowledge what we are doing," she said.
"We have to be realistic and accept we are a bit of a trailblazer, even though I don't like that word.
"If we can show it can be done, then that's a big win for me.
"I've seen a lot of people throughout my career retire and have a family quite young and it's been a shame in a way to lose them to the game.
"So hopefully if we can show you can do both, for me that's a massive step forward."