'Changes had to be made': New-look Gades out to impress
With a new coach, new captain and three new internationals, the Renegades have revamped themselves for Weber WBBL|07
7 October 2021, 05:40 PM AEST
With a new coach, new captain and eight changes to last year’s squad, this year’s Melbourne Renegades’ group already looks dramatically different to the one that finished seventh on the table last summer.
In WBBL|06, injuries and poor form meant the Renegades’ campaign never quite found momentum, despite ending with a memorable victory over Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval.
Heading into Weber WBBL|07, they have lost key players Molly Strano and Maitlan Brown, and will field an entirely new cast of overseas players alongside new coach Simon Helmot and new captain Sophie Molineux.
With players arriving in Hobart from around the country, the new-look squad will not fully come together until just three days before their opening game.
But Helmot is unfazed, and confident his blend of youth and experience can improve on last season.
The incoming Renegades coach knows a thing or two about building successful teams; just last month he guided St Kitts and Nevis to their maiden Caribbean Premier League title.
"Eight changes is a lot for a 15-person squad, but we had a poor season last season, so changes had to be made," Helmot, an assistant coach at the Renegades in WBBL|06 before replacing Lachie Stevens in the main role earlier this year, told cricket.com.au.
"I’m looking forward to new leadership with Sophie (Molineux), she’s really looking forward to the challenge.
"We’ve made sure we’ve had strong communication well before we catch up, we’ve had our group and individual meetings about player roles, so when the girls arrive there won’t be many surprises.
"It’ll be about getting the work done to make sure their loads are right and they’re prepared for the games."
Joining the club are India stars Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues, alongside English batter Eve Jones.
The return of Jess Duffin to the middle-order will be a welcome sight after she sat out last season following the birth of daughter Georgie, while Australia leg-spinner Georgia Wareham is poised to play a significant role after a leg injury prematurely ended her WBBL|06 campaign.
The arrival of Holly Ferling from the Stars has already proved a popular move, with the fast bowler delivering brownies to her Victoria and ACT-based teammates in hotel quarantine this week, while emerging quicks Ellen Falconer and Poppy Gardner are in line for Big Bash debuts.
"There’s some experienced players domestically, as well as international talent that help make a nice blend with our youth and emerging players – it’s an exciting time for the Renegades," Helmot said.
"We’ve got some exciting talent but as we know with any T20 campaign, it’s about collaborating and working well as a unit and then individual success can breed from that.
"Here’s a chance now for the Renegades to stamp their authority on the competition and not just be a good team for this season but for many seasons to come."
The Renegades are facing another season spent entirely on the road after Cricket Australia confirmed a rejigged schedule with no matches to be played in Victoria on Thursday.
Ensuring a strong team culture and camaraderie will be crucial to their on-field success, Helmot believes, as players and staff alike confront an extended period away from friends and family.
"(Those factors) are critical both on and off the field, and I’ll spend a lot of time working on those things to make sure that it’s a really positive experience and that the players are here to grow not only as players, but as people," Helmot, who has been away from his own family in Melbourne since departing for the CPL in August, said.
"I’m desperately missing my family, I haven’t seen them for two months and I might not see them for another two months, and that’s really tough.
"But we’ve all got to stick together and look out for each other because sometimes we’re going to be up and sometimes we’ll be feeling a little flat."
Squad: Sophie Molineux* (c), Georgia Wareham*, Eve Jones (Eng), Harmanpreet Kaur (Ind), Jemimah Rodrigues (Ind), Makinley Blows, Josie Dooley, Jess Duffin, Ellen Falconer, Holly Ferling, Poppy Gardner, Ella Hayward, Carly Leeson, Rhiann O’Donnell, Courtney Webb
* Australia contracted marquee player
In: Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Eve Jones, Holly Ferling (Stars), Ellen Falconer (Strikers), Poppy Gardner, Rhiann O’Donnell
Out: Molly Strano (Hurricanes), Maitlan Brown (Sixers), Lizelle Lee, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu, Erin Fazackerley, Courtney Neale
Possible best XI: Sophie Molineux (c), Jemimah Rodrigues, Eve Jones, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jess Duffin, Josie Dooley (wk), Courtney Webb, Carly Leeson, Georgia Wareham, Holly Ferling, Ella Hayward
Player to watch: Sophie Molineux
X-factor: Jemimah Rodrigues
Last year's result: Seventh (4 wins, eight losses, two no results)
The inside word with Mel Jones: "Every team is after a finisher, it’s a rare commodity and when you get one, you hang onto them, and the Renegades have one in Courtney Webb. The key to success for them will be the new skipper Sophie Molineux, if she can get all the players to gel as a unit, they should go all right."
October 16 v Hurricanes, Blundstone Arena
October 20 v Strikers, Blundstone Arena
October 23 v Scorchers, UTas Stadium
October 24 v Sixers, UTas Stadium
October 27 v Thunder, UTas Stadium
October 30 v Sixers, Lilac Hill
October 31 v Strikers, Lilac Hill
November 3 v Scorchers, WACA Ground
November 6 v Heat, Karen Rolton Oval
November 7 v Stars, Adelaide Oval
November 13 v Stars, Karen Rolton Oval
November 17 v Thunder, Great Barrier Reef Arena Mackay
November 19 v Hurricanes, Great Barrier Reef Arena Mackay
November 20 v Heat, Great Barrier Reef Arena Mackay
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