WA U17s Steeled for National Championships
10 December 2012  

Western Australia's Under 17 Male team will get their campaign at the 2012 National Championships in Hobart underway on Monday and coach Lindsay Flinn says they have a "good chance" to win the whole tournament.

WA finished champions in 2009 and 2010 before coming fourth last year. The team begins their 2012 campaign against Northern Territory at Lindisfarne Oval, Hobart, on Monday.

Claremont-Nedlands batsman Cameron Steel was handed his cap as skipper by Warriors and Scorchers all-rounder Mitch Marsh at Thursday's function prior to the team flying out on Friday evening. Steel was a key member of last year's side, scoring 247 runs at 49.4, including an unbeaten century against Victoria.

Flinn said the side's strength was the batting department, earmarking the likes of Steel, Bayswater-Morley's Jake Lewis, Fremantle's Anthony Collova and Joondalup's Clint Hinchliffe as players to look out for.

"It's a very strong batting group on paper. You don't win games on paper, but we have some depth," Flinn said. "Our bowling line-up is more steady so our strength would be batting."

He added: "Cameron Steel made a hundred in a game last year for us, so he's one to look out for. Jake Lewis is another, while Anthony Collova has been playing First Grade all year for Fremantle so we expect him to go well.

"Clint played SchoolSport last year. He was the player of the SchoolSport team last season, he made in excess of 300 runs and was also part of the Under 15 side. He's got talent."

Flinn rated his side's chances of returning to the winners' list, although he conceded the traditional strong states would provide tough opposition.

"We have a good chance to win. We didn't come here to make up the numbers that's for sure," Flinn said.

"New South Wales are usually very strong, they won it last season. Queensland have had some very good under-age teams in recent years. Victoria finished bottom last year, which is unheard of, so they'll be back. Those three will be the big opposition."

Four players from last year's tournament have been named in the 13-member squad, in Steel, Lewis, Jarryd McPhee and Aaron Summers. Lewis will be Steel's vice captain, while McPhee, who took seven wickets at last year's event, is also part of the leadership group.

The team arrived in Hobart, well ahead of their opener against Northern Territory, which Flinn said would hopefully help the side have its best possible preparation.

"It's good to get here two days in advance so we can have a run and prepare ourselves to play. It's something we've done in recent years so we think it works well," he said.

WA Squad:

Cameron Steel (Captain, Claremont-Nedlands), Anthony Collova (Vice Captain, Fremantle), Jaron Morgan (Joondalup), Jarryd McPhee (Wanneroo), Jake Lewis (Bayswater-Morley), Jake Carder (Fremantle), Rhys Hampson (Bayswater-Morley), Clint Hinchliffe (Joondalup), George True-Penter (Mt Lawley), Bevan Bennell (Midland-Guildford), Aaron Summers (Wanneroo), Cody Wilson (Bayswater-Morley), Liam Guthrie (Perth)

WA's Fixtures:

Monday Dec 10; WA v Northern Territory, Lindisfarne Oval

Tuesday Dec 11; WA v ACT, New Town Oval

Thursday & Friday Dec 13-14; WA v Queensland, TCA Ground

Sunday & Monday Dec 16-17; WA v NSW, New Town Oval

Wednesday & Thursday Dec 19-20; WA v Victoria, Lindisfarne Oval