Queensland have landed a major coup, luring former Australia batter Jess Duffin north for the 2018-19 Women’s National Cricket League season.
The former Victorian, who did not hold a state contract last summer but played for Melbourne Renegades in the Rebel WBBL, has joined current internationally contracted players Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney and Delissa Kimmince at the Konica Minolta Fire.
Since retiring from international cricket in 2015, having played three Tests, 50 ODIs and 64 T20Is, Duffin has successfully mixed cricket with Australian Rules Football, playing for Collingwood in the first two seasons of AFLW.
While those football commitments may interfere with Duffin’s availability through the back end of the WNCL season – with the fixtures for either competition yet to be confirmed – Fire coach Peter McGiffin said Duffin’s experience would be particularly crucial during the early part of the season.
“She’s a talented and experienced player who has produced plenty of important performances for Australia during her career so we expect she will be a positive contributor for us, especially with the Australian players having World T20 commitments in the early rounds of the WNCL,” McGiffin said.
Duffin is one of four inclusions for the Fire for the 50-over domestic competition, alongside homegrown talents Courtney Sippel and Meagan Dixon and Dutch international Sterre Kalis.
Kalis, 18, was an ICC Associate Rookie with Sydney Thunder in WBBL|03 while she also played premier cricket in Hobart, where she claimed the Kim Fazackerley Medal as the player of the competition.
A batting allrounder, Kalis played for the Netherlands during the 2015 ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier.
Dixon has represented Australia in indoor cricket, while allrounder Sippel played in the WBBL Under-18 exhibition match last summer.
“We’re excited that Sterre is joining us,” McGiffin said. “She’s got plenty of ability and we believe she will work in nicely alongside the other talented young players on our list like Josie Dooley, Courtney Sippel and Georgia Prestwidge.
“Meagan Dixon has come to us through a slightly different path but she is strongly competitive whether it is indoor or outdoor cricket and we think she will benefit from being part of the Fire program this summer.”
Meanwhile the Fire have bid farewell to Kara Sutherland, who has retired, and Courtney Hill, who has turned her attention to playing rugby league for Leeds in the United Kingdom.
Queensland Fire squad: Jemma Barsby, Haidee Birkett, Tess Cooper, Meagan Dixon, Josie Dooley, Jess Duffin, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Laura Harris, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Jess Jonassen (CA), Sterre Kalis, Delissa Kimmince (CA), Beth Mooney (CA), Georgia Prestwidge, Kirby Short, Courtney Sippel