The final preview of the WACA
District season from Ben Somerford takes a look at the two teams who fought out a thrilling First Grade final at the WACA Ground last summer - Subiaco-Floreat and Wanneroo.
Lions aided by Bandy
Former Olly Cooley Medallist David Bandy may have returned
to Subiaco-Floreat but coach Brett Bowker is reluctant to talk about claiming
the Retravision Shield.
The Lions won the premiership in Bowker's first year as
coach in 2010-11, before losing last season's Grand Final to Wanneroo.
The 34-year old former Warriors all-rounder Bandy was
not part of last season's side but has returned to the club after a year away
from the game.
"He was courted by a number of clubs and could have
gone anywhere so we're delighted to have him back," Bowker said. "That's
a real key for us. He will be significant."
Batsman Aaron Lilly has returned to Subi after one season at
Wanneroo, where he top scored in their Second Grade side, while right-arm medium
bowler David Kinsella has moved over from Tasmania.
"Quite a few players have come back to the club having
given away the game for various reasons before deciding to come back to
cricket. It's a healthy sign they have decided to join us," he said.
Bowker was delighted to retain the bulk of his squad from
last season, including skipper Alex Malcolm (570 runs at 40.71) and
spinner Chris Hansberry (552 runs and 32 wickets in 2011-12), along with
Warriors pair Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff (26 wickets last season
However the Lions coach was reluctant to focus on winning
the premiership, preferring to be pragmatic in his approach.
"Our main aim as a club is to develop players and
success will be a by-product of that," he said.
"If we get it together, we will be back in the finals.
So far in pre-season, we seem to be in good shape and the boys look
Bowker identified young batsman Stefan Collins (515 runs at
36.79 last season) as one player the club was particularly excited about.
"He made a couple of First Grade centuries last season.
We think he can further develop and move up to the next level," he said.
The Lions coach also said left-hand pace bowler Ashley Blake
had "improved out of sight" and hoped for more improvement from
wicketkeeper-batsman Callum How.
Bowler Tom Moscarda, who played seven First Grade games last
season, will miss the first five to six weeks of the season after sustaining a
finger injury playing country football.
Roos out to build a
Wanneroo coach Andy Oram says the Roos can build a legacy
and become a phenomenal side in the next few years following last season's
The Roos finished fourth on the regular season ladder in 2011-12 before taking out the flag with a one-wicket triumph over
Subiaco-Floreat in the final.
Ex-Warriors batsman Wes Robinson (who contributed 578 runs
last season at 57.8) has left Wanneroo for Victoria and while Oram admitted he
would be hard to replace, he was full of confidence when discussing the Roos'
"Last year we had 10 home-grown players in the side
which won the A Grade plate, we don't need to recruit," he said.
"I don't want to sound arrogant, but we've got 60 lads
down here full of talent. My job is to turn them into the best players they can
be. For any weaknesses in the side we can find solutions from within. We want
to develop a legacy."
The Roos have landed WACA Development Squad member
John Rogers from Queensland, however Oram insisted there was no shortage of
talent already at the club.
"I'm blessed. The Second Grade squad available is
genuinely full of talent," he said. "If they are patient in two to three
years time, Wanneroo's First Grade side will be phenomenal. Jacob Johnston, Brendan Murray, the list goes
on, ultimately it's my job to harness that talent."
And the former Nottinghamshire bowler added developing
talent rather than aiming for premierships was his immediate goal.
"I want to turn three players into professional players
for WA. That's my only aspiration (for this season)," Oram explained. "Yes,
we want to win but we didn't think like that last year. We went out
there to improve as much as we could. It may sound cliche, but that's what we
need to do.
"With more coaching, more discipline, more structure
and more clarity these players will improve. Then the results will take care of
Anthony Del Borrello (558 runs at 39.86 last season) will Captain the side in 2012-13, while Jake Fawcett (616 runs at 56) will be
promoted to opener in a bid to push his case for a Warriors contract.
The Roos' attack of Chris Quelch (38 wickets), Martin Paskal
(35 wickets), Gary Atkinson (28 wickets) and Leigh Millar (who took 3-9 in last
season's decider) remains in tact and in good form in pre-season.
"My biggest problem has been calming everyone down," Oram said about pre-season. "Success
brings more problems than failure. You've got to back it up but I can't question
He added: "We've got a group of guys who love playing
cricket together and that's the most pleasing thing."