How your club is shaping up for WBBL|07 as contracting begins
With the WBBL|07 contracting period officially underway, as we take a club-by-club look through the league to see how things are placed
30 April 2021, 12:09 PM AEST
Teenage fast bowler Darcie Brown, who made her international debut and earned her first national contract in recent months, can now add 'WBBL marquee player' to her list of accolades.
The contracting window for the seventh edition of the WBBL tournament officially opened on Thursday, and while the prospect of an overseas player draft has been mooted for this summer's KFC BBL, there will be no changes to the recruitment process for the women's competition this year.
As per previous seasons, clubs have an allowance of up to five marquee players and a maximum of three from overseas.
Australian marquees are those who hold a Cricket Australia contract for 2021-22, meaning Adelaide Striker quick Brown has been elevated to that 15-player group, replacing recent retiree Delissa Kimmince.
Of those Australian contracted players, there are six whose contracts were up for renewal after WBBL|06 and who could potentially be lured to rival clubs: Nicola Carey, Rachael Haynes, Georgia Wareham, Tahlia McGrath, Megan Schutt and Annabel Sutherland.
One player who will not be going anywhere is Ashleigh Gardner, with the Sydney Sixers confirming this week the star allrounder signed a new deal prior to the end of last season.
The schedule for WBBL|07 will be revealed in the coming months, but the opening of state borders is a positive indication that a repeat of the Sydney hub that housed the entirety of WBBL|06 is unlikely to be required.
An uncertain international schedule means it is unclear how many tours could potentially clash with this summer's Big Bash; currently, the only confirmed series is a visit by England to Pakistan which ends on October 22.
The likelihood that India will tour Australia in September ahead of the WBBL is an encouraging sign that Indian players might feature in the league for the first time since WBBL|04, providing they have no further international engagements in October and November.
It also remains to be seen what quarantine requirements will remain in place for entry into Australia which would impact overseas players.
Here's a definitive guide to how your club is currently placed ahead of WBBL|07.
WBBL|06 result: 6th (6 wins, 7 losses, 1 no result)
WBBL|07 squad so far: Darcie Brown, Bridget Patterson
WBBL|06 squad members off contract: Suzie Bates (NZ), Sarah Coyte, Ellen Falconer, Katie Mack, Tahlia McGrath, Tegan McPharlin, Annie O'Neil, Madeline Penna, Alex Price, Megan Schutt, Stafanie Taylor (WI), Amanda-Jade Wellington, Laura Wolvaardt (SA)
The Strikers missed out on the top four by a single point in a hotly contested race for the semi-finals last season, having played much of the tournament without injured captain Suzie Bates.
They now have a fair bit of signing work ahead of them with the bulk of their WBBL|06 squad off contract.
In good news, they already have recent Australia debutante Brown on the books, alongside experienced batter Bridget Patterson, who signed a new three-year deal before the start of last season.
However, Brown's ascent to the marquee list will likely trigger a shift in how Adelaide approach their international slots; if the Strikers retain the services of Australia-contracted players Megan Schutt and Tahlia McGrath as expected, they will have just two spots to offer overseas players.
Meanwhile, Maddie Penna and Katie Mack took their games to new levels last season and the Strikers may also have to fend off other offers for the pair, while leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington is another off-contract player who could be in hot demand.
WBBL|06 result: Semi-finalists
WBBL|07 squad so far: Jess Jonassen (c), Grace Harris, Laura Kimmince, Mikayla Hinkley, Charli Knott, Georgia Prestwidge, Georiga Redmayne, Georgia Voll
WBBL|07 squad members off contract: Nadine de Klerk (SA), Maddy Green (NZ), Amelia Kerr (NZ), Nicola Hancock, Lilly Mills, Courtney Sippel, Delissa Kimmince (retired)
The Heat proved the doubters wrong last season, making the semi-finals despite losing leading run scorer Beth Mooney and key allrounder Sammy-Jo Johnson to other clubs.
Captain Jess Jonassen is on a long-term deal and promising youngsters Georgia Voll, Charli Knott and Courtney Sippel are all locked in for next season already, as are key trio Georgia Redmayne, Grace Harris and Laura Kimmince, giving the Heat a strong foundation.
They will no doubt be eager to continue their association with New Zealand leg-spinner Amelia Kerr, and following Delissa Kimmince's retirement, they may even consider targeting Kerr's pace-bowling sister Jess, who made a major impression in the recent T20I and ODI series against Australia.
WBBL|06 result: Eighth (3 wins, 9 losses, 3 no results)
WBBL|07 squad so far: Amy Smith, Naomi Stalenberg, Belinda Vakarewa, Tayla Vlaeminck
WBBL|07 squad members off contract: Nicola Carey, Emma Flint, Maisy Gibson, Corinne Hall, Brooke Hepburn, Erica Kershaw, Hayley Matthews (WI), Sasha Moloney, Rachel Priest (NZ), Chloe Rafferty, Chloe Tryon (SA)
Hobart again missed the finals last season, having been dealt major injury blows before WBBL|06 even started when Tayla Vlaeminck (foot) and Maisy Gibson (ACL) were ruled out through injury.
They had recruited with a view to bolstering their batting line-up, signing Naomi Stalenberg and Rachel Priest, but things never quite clicked for the Hurricanes, who ultimately went backwards and finished on the bottom of the table.
Batting was again a major issue for the Hurricanes, with opener Priest (354 runs at 35) the only player to average more than 17 across the season – so it seems likely they will again canvass the league for available batting talent.
It is likely they will review their international personnel, after Chloe Tryon (164 runs at 16) and Hayley Matthews (128 runs at 16) did not produce the campaigns they would have hoped for with the bat. However, off-spinner Matthews was their leading wicket taker, with 12 wickets at 16.
Reigning Tasmania WNCL player the year Nicola Carey is also off contract.
WBBL|06 result: 7th (4 wins, 8 losses, 2 no results)
WBBL|07 squad so far: Makinley Blows, Josie Dooley, Ella Hayward, Sophie Molineux
WBBL|06 squad members off contract: Maitlan Brown, Jess Duffin, Erin Fazackerley, Carly Leeson, Courtney Neale, Molly Strano, Courtney Webb
It was a tough old season for the Renegades last summer, after they were hit hard by injuries and poor form from key players early in their campaign, before putting together several promising performances at the tail end of the season.
Top of the priority list will be securing a new coach after Lachlan Stevens announced his resignation for personal reasons in March.
Core quartet Georgia Wareham, Maitlan Brown, Molly Strano and Courtney Webb are all off contract and are sure to attract offers from rival clubs.
The absence of Jess Duffin, who missed last season after giving birth to her first child but has since returned to AFLW, was keenly felt last season and her return to the middle-order would be a welcome boost for the club should she decide to continue her cricket career.
Overseas players Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu and Lizelle Lee are also off contract.
The good news is Australia allrounder Sophie Molineux is locked into a multi-year deal, as is promising teenager off-spinner Ella Hayward, and wicketkeeper Josie Dooley.
WBBL|06 result: Runners-up
WBBL|07 squad so far: Meg Lanning (c), Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Erin Osborne, Elyse Villani
WBBL|06 squad members off contract: Katherine Brunt (Eng), Lucy Cripps, Sophie Day, Bhavi Devchand, Mignon du Preez (SA), Holly Ferling, Georgia Gall, Alana King, Natalie Sciver (Eng), Annabel Sutherland
After their remarkable rise from the bottom of the table to making their first final, the Stars will be eager to build on that momentum.
Skipper Meg Lanning and four other core players are locked in and fending off any rival suitors for Australia allrounder Annabel Sutherland will be a priority.
Good vibes among the group and a sense of unfinished business after an upset loss to the Sydney Thunder in the final should also encourage other off-contract players to sign on the dotted line.
There are a couple of big question marks for the Stars, however. The first is the future of WBBL|06 coach Trent Woodhill, who was only on a one-year deal and is yet to confirm whether he will continue in the role.
The second is the make-up of their international contingent. South Africa's Mignon du Preez and England pair Natalie Sciver and Katherine Brunt were all instrumental in helping the Stars reach the final, but with England scheduled to tour Pakistan in October, Brunt and Sciver may not be available this season.
WBBL|06 result: Semi-finalist
WBBL|07 squad so far: Piepa Cleary, Heather Graham, Beth Mooney, Taneale Peschel
WBBL|06 squad members off contract: Megan Banting, Jemma Barsby, Samantha Betts, Nicole Bolton, Mathilda Carmichael, Sophie Devine (NZ), Sarah Glenn (Eng), Amy Jones (Eng), Chloe Piparo, Georgia Wyllie, Emma King (retired)
The good news for Scorchers fans is Beth Mooney is one of a handful of players already on the books, and while Sophie Devine is off-contract, it is difficult to see the damaging allrounder going elsewhere unless injury or national commitments render her unavailable.
However, the availability of English stars Amy Jones and Sarah Glenn is up in the air, due to their tour of Pakistan in October.
Heather Graham is another on a multi-year deal, despite her move to Tasmania in state cricket, while Emma King has retired.
WBBL|06 result: 5th (6 wins, 6 losses, two no results)
WBBL|07 squad so far: Ellyse Perry (c), Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Lauren Cheatle, Emma Hughes, Hayley Silver-Holmes
WBBL|06 squad members off contract: Maddy Darke, Lisa Griffith, Jodie Hicks, Marizanne Kapp (SA), Angela Reakes, Dane van Niekerk (SA), Sarah Aley (retired)
After missing finals for two consecutive years, the question on everyone's lips is 'will there be a shake-up at the Sixers?'
A glance at their contract list suggests there will be no drastic changes, with star internationals Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner and Alyssa Healy all on multi-year deals, alongside Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Lauren Cheatle and Hayley Silver-Holmes.
South Africans Marizanne Kapp and Dane van Niekerk are both are currently un-signed and it will be interesting to see if the Sixers change their approach to how they fill their international slots.
But the club does have a long association with the star pair that stretches back to the early seasons of the WBBL, and both present versatile all-round options with both bat and ball.
WBBL|06 result: Champions
WBBL|07 squad so far: Sam Bates, Hannah Darlington, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Kate Peterson, Lauren Smith
WBBL|06 squad members off contract: Tammy Beaumont (SA), Rachael Haynes, Saskia Horley, Shabnim Ismail (SA), Heather Knight (Eng), Olivia Porter, Rachel Trenaman, Tahlia Wilson
With seven core players already locked in, the reigning champions have plenty of reason to feel confident heading into their title defence.
Young guns Hannah Darlington and Phoebe Litchfield are among those on multi-year deals, as are allrounder Sammy-Jo Johnson and left-arm spinner Sam Bates.
Captain Rachael Haynes is one big name off contract, while the international spots have a question mark. With England to tour Pakistan in October, is it unclear whether England captain Heather Knight or batter Tammy Beaumont will be available to return.