WBBL clubs race to sign out-of-contract Aussie stars
National captain Meg Lanning leads a group of unsigned Australia marquee players who will be in hot demand this off-season
16 December 2019, 04:58 PM AEST
A host of out-of-contract Australian stars including national captain Meg Lanning and WBBL player of the final Beth Mooney will be in hot demand this off-season as Big Bash clubs look to strengthen their lists.
Mooney is one of three leading Brisbane Heat players whose contracts are up for renewal after they sealed back-to-back titles earlier this month, while Lanning, Sixers skipper Ellyse Perry and Renegades allrounder Sophie Molineux are among other Australian players who have yet to confirm their Big Bash futures.
Fresh off scoring an unbeaten 56 against the Adelaide Strikers in the WBBL final, Mooney admitted she had yet to start discussions with the club about her future for WBBL|06 and beyond.
Also off contract at the Heat is another Australian star, allrounder Jess Jonassen, and Australia A bowler Sammy-Jo Johnson.
Mooney hit 743 runs at an average of 74.30 including nine half-centuries during WBBL|05, while Jonassen enjoyed a personal best season with bat and ball.
Johnson was one of the league’s best with the ball, taking 18 wickets, while she showed off her pinch-hitting abilities in the final when she hit four sixes from one Sophie Devine over.
While Mooney could expect plenty of suitors should she need interested in a new home, the proud Queenslander has admitted she finds it hard to imagine herself wearing any colour except teal.
"I don't know. I haven't thought too much about it. I've just tried to get through the season," Mooney said following the WBBL final.
"I know I was off contract and I haven't been spoken to by the Brisbane Heat, I'll be honest, and you want to feel valued and things like that.
"In terms of my lifestyle here, it's pretty good ... I get to be at home with all my people and they get to sit in the crowd and watch me play at Allan Border Field, which is one of the greatest grounds in the world.”
Australia allrounder Delissa Kimmince is the only Heat player currently contracted for next season, and Mooney hopes the Heat brains trust will do everything in their power to keep a winning group together.
"Once people start coming off contract, people start getting chased," she said.
"That's the beauty of this competition, the names are out there a bit more and people become wanted.
"That's just where the game's heading. I think Brisbane Heat needs to be really smart - they've probably not done that a whole lot in the past.
"Now is a really good opportunity for them to show what they're made of and make sure they keep all the people and try their best to keep them because you can't replicate what we've done here if you don't have the people."
Lanning, meanwhile, is another yet to make a decision about her WBBL future after three seasons at the Perth Scorchers.
She played the first two WBBL seasons with the Melbourne Stars before moving west but spent her first season in orange watching on from the sidelines after undergoing shoulder surgery.
"I haven't given it a lot of thought, to be honest," Lanning said ahead of the WBBL finals.
"I've just been focusing on trying to help Perth win games of cricket.
"Once we finish up here on the weekend … I'll have a think about what I'm going to do."
The Sixers will be eager to keep captain and star allrounder Perry in their ranks, with the two-time champions already announcing fellow Australian players Alyssa Healy and Erin Burns had penned new deals ahead of WBBL|05.
Another Aussie star, Ashleigh Gardner, also remains under contract in magenta next summer.
Molineux, one of the brightest young stars in Australian cricket, is out of contract for next season, while her Renegades teammate Georgia Wareham is contracted until the end of WBBL|06.
Elsewhere in the league, Strikers and Australia spearhead Megan Schutt is contracted until at least the end of WBBL|06, as are Adelaide teammates Tahlia McGrath and Amanda-Jade Wellington, who are currently pressing their cases for a national recall with Australia A.
Elyse Villani is on a multi-year deal at Melbourne Stars after being lured across from the Scorchers this summer, Rachael Haynes penned a new two-year deal with the Sydney Thunder ahead of WBBL|05, and Nicole Bolton still has another season to run on her contract with the Scorchers.