NSW aiming for 18th WNCL title

Queensland out to break NSW domination with maiden title as Breakers seek to continue 50-over format dynasty

Konica Minolta Queensland Fire will be looking to clinch their maiden domestic 50-over title when they face 17 time champions Lendlease NSW Breakers in the WNCL final at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Saturday.

The two fierce rivals had finished the regular season tied on 19 points but the Fire had won the rights to host the final because in accordance with the WNCL Playing Conditions, they had registered more number of wins and ties than their opponents.   

Both teams had successfully reached the final despite missing their respective Southern Stars representatives in the last round matches. The Breakers qualified with thrilling 13 run victory over the ACT Meteors while the Fire progressed by defeating the Victorian Spirits by 29 runs.

Pursuing their 18th WNCL title the Breakers will be bolstered by the return of four national stars - Alex Blackwell, Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Rene Farrell but coach, Joanne Broadbent is not getting carried away with the inclusion of the Southern Stars players.

"It is exciting to get those four players back for the Final, but we don't want to rely on Australian players," said Broadbent.

"My message is that I'll be relying on our State players and it is a bonus to have our Australian players back.

NSW have won an incredible 17 of the past 20 WNCL finals // Getty
NSW have won an incredible 17 of the past 20 WNCL finals // Getty

"We really need our State-contracted players standing up for this weekend and if they do that then that gives us a better chance of winning.

Broadbent also feels her squad will be not be affected by the expectation that comes with making 21 consecutive Finals.

"The history that this team has is incredible," said Broadbent.

"Pressure does come with that history but we have really good experience and some really good young players that have come through.

"They're able to handle that pressure really well."

On the other end of the scale, the Fire have added Australian representatives Grace Harris, Holly Ferling and Jess Jonassen to the side that beat Victoria in the final minor-round match and will be competing in their first Final since the 2005-06 season, in which they finished runners up.

The Fire know it will be tough task to knock off the experienced Breakers but opening bowler, Holly Ferling believes the team well equipped to get the job done. 

"I think we have got the most balanced team we have had for a very longtime. Our depth has been incredible this season and the debutantes have really stepped up this year," said Ferling.

"Last year there South Australia beat NSW quite convincingly and this year we beat them by 50 runs.

"For us it about focusing on our game rather than worrying about the opposition too much."

One player the Fire must negate is Breakers star Ellyse Perry. The Southern Stars representative has been in red hot form with the bat scoring scored five successive fifties playing for the national team but accordingly to the star all-rounder that matters very little for Saturday. 

"It is going to be a fantastic match tomorrow I think Queensland have been the form team in the competition but we are really looking forward to the challenge," said Perry. 

Perry feels there is a sense of expectation on the Breakers to reclaim the title they lost to South Australia last year.

"Last year certainly hurt especially losing in the final and we very much like to turn that around this year."

"As a team we feel the responsibility to everyone that has played for the Breakers for the 21 years in terms of the record they have managed to sustain over that time. I think we have that obligation to do well for them tomorrow."

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Meg Lanning Steve Smith