WA chases historic hat-trick while Tasmania tries to break 11-year drought

Injury-hit WA are hoping to bounce back from the loss of Cameron Bancroft, while established Tasmania are buoyed by their recent results at the WACA.

As Western Australia captain Sam Whiteman stepped forward for his media conference ahead of the Sheffield Shield final on Wednesday, he was undoubtedly aware of the barrage of questions headed his way.

WA chases historic hat-trick while Tasmania tries to break 11-year drought

In a bombshell late on Tuesday night WA opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was ruled out of the final against Tasmania after a bike accident. It continued a run of adversity for WA, who are attempting their first hat-trick of titles since the 1980s.

WA chases historic hat-trick

Even the iconic WA team of the 1990s, which was filled with many players who eventually became Test greats, could not achieve this feat. During the last 20 years, only Victoria has won three consecutive titles from 2015–17.
This is obviously something rare and very difficult to achieve, as WA can attest to in a season affected by injuries. Frontline quicks Jhye Richardson, Lance Morris and Matt Kelly have played only five Shield matches between them and none of them will be available for the final.

Ashton Turner, who rejuvenated his red-ball career with a century in last season’s final, has been unavailable since undergoing knee surgery in December.

Cameron Green played only two matches, while Mitchell Marsh did not feature at all in domestic cricket this season given the heavy international workload across all formats.

WA often looked tired and below their best – echoes of the Perth Scorchers’ disappointing BBL season – but they found a way to overcome the odds and finished the season with a mix of players in peak form, unexpectedly winning. Won the domestic final with. over Victoria at the Junction Oval last week.

Jordan Silk and Sam Whiteman pose with the Sheffield Shield trophy at Kings Park, Perth. getty images
“Getting to the finals this year has been a challenge. Last year it was pretty much a straight line, but this year it’s been do or die in the last three weeks,” Whiteman said on Wednesday.

There are rumors circulating on social media that the WA Second XI could be the next best Shield team. Of course, it can never be proven, but WA’s depth of talent and the natural progression of their fringe players puts them on the cusp of another title.

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“We’ve used 22 players this year and I think every single one of them has played a role for the team,” Whiteman said. “To win the Shield you need a complete team. I think that’s the strength of this group.”

While WA looks to break a 23-year title drought in 2022, victory here would be “most satisfying” for Whiteman, who is on the verge of becoming a three-time Shield-winning captain. WA would also become the first team to win a hat-trick of titles simultaneously in the Shield and Marsh Cup.

“If we get the job done this week, it’s something we can look back on and be really proud of,” he said. “This group leaves a really strong legacy.”

Before the media conference began at Kings Park, a popular spot for tourists to take photographs of Perth’s picturesque surroundings, the large Shield trophy was already in place for the cameras. Apart from one man, reportedly a relative of a former Test player, who wandered around to take a picture of the trophy, people passing by barely gave it a second glance.

Amid the cool morning air, indicative of the change in weather in Perth, it was a reminder that the final will be played in relative anonymity in the AFL-mad city.

But interest in the match in Tasmania should be high as the Tigers look to end an 11-year drought. George Bailey and Ricky Ponting were their talismans the last time they won the trophy, but their star with the bat was Jordan Silk, who as a 20-year-old frustrated Queensland by scoring 108 off 358 balls as Tasmania won on home soil. But the necessary draw was achieved. Won his third title.

James Faulkner, George Bailey and Ricky Ponting played the last time Tasmania won the Sheffield Shield. getty images
Silk, who is the only member of that XI to play in this final, said, “I thought about it myself. It was really special.” “I was actually only on the team for a few weeks and I found out that I was winning.

“So it would definitely mean a lot if we win this week because of the journey I’ve been on and also for a lot of our guys who have been with us for a long time.”

With few international players in their team, Tasmania have enjoyed consistency and were in the box seat of the home final until a last-round slip-up against South Australia at Bellerive Oval.

It looked to be a costly defeat, with Tasmania facing a long trip to Perth and the tough task of facing WA, who have lost only three matches at the WACA since the start of 2021-22.

But one of those defeats was to Tasmania, who had drawn a high-scoring match on an unnaturally flat WACA surface earlier this season. The pitch in the final is expected to be favorable to the bowlers, although perhaps not as spicy as that seen at the WACA since the Tasmania match in October.


“We are really confident in our ability at the moment. I think we have put together a very good first-class season. People should take confidence from that,” Silk said. “We have beaten teams on the road this year, and we have a good record in Perth, so we take a lot of confidence from that.”

Tasmania will also get the added motivation of Matthew Wade’s red-ball retirement, while they may be able to ride the wave of sporting mania in the island state. The Jackjumpers, their basketball team, are in the NBL Grand Final, while Tasmania’s first AFL team was launched earlier this week.

“It’s been a really good week for Tassie sports,” Silk said. “Hopefully we can add a little bit to that this week. It’ll be really special.”

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