‘I WENT BANANAS’
It’s been pretty well documented that we lost our first six games in the inaugural season of the WBBL, all by big margins. What isn’t so well known is what happened in the immediate aftermath of that sixth defeat.
We had just lost to the Stars for the second time in two days. The three key themes we’d agreed to build our team around before the season – attack, inspire, succeed – weren’t feeling especially meaningful after a run of losses like that.
We were all starting to wonder if we’d got it wrong.
Our coach, Ben Sawyer, could see I had the shits. I’m usually quite an extroverted and passionate person around the group but now I was a steaming teapot.
‘Who’s going to get stuck into them: you or me?’ Ben asked.
I went first. Ben gave me licence to speak my mind and I responded by going absolutely bananas, shouting and hollering and stomping around the Drummoyne Oval changeroom.
Ben came in after me. It’s the only time in my life I’ve ever seen him angry. He was more constructive than I was – he actually broke down the areas he thought we needed to address, whereas I pretty much just yelled! – but he still let rip.
It wasn’t good cop, bad cop.
It was bad cop, bad cop.
And Pez, being the ultimate professional, was there to pick everyone up again after we’d finished.
Ben gave me licence to speak my mind and I responded by going absolutely bananas, shouting and hollering and stomping around the Drummoyne Oval changeroom.
The main message we drove home was this: we had collectively pledged to play attacking cricket at the start of the season, but instead we were very timid. We weren’t being true to our commitment. We weren’t being true to ourselves.
After that game, we changed our mindset. It was a conscious decision and everyone bought in. We won our next game against the Scorchers and we barely lost from there on. We embraced the fact that our backs were to be the wall. Even if we lost one or two early wickets, we refused to go into our shells. We played aggressively, not recklessly, and always looked to move the game on whether that was with the bat, ball or in the field.
Of course, there are days when this approach doesn’t pay off. We’ve been dismissed for under 100 twice this season. But I think we’ve shown over the four years that by being positive and looking to attack, you will get yourself in a position to win a lot of games.
Sometimes sprays are worthwhile!
It’s funny to think that, there we were, four years later celebrating one of our greatest wins last weekend in the same Drummoyne changeroom where we’d had our hardest discussion as a group.
Our celebrations are usually pretty quiet. We have a lot of introverted people in our squad and after most wins we usually sign some autographs, complete our recovery and then head back to the sheds to sing our team song.
That went out the window last Saturday. We charged into the changeroom and got stuck straight into the song. We were yahooing and carrying on because we realised that what we’d done was really special.
But we’ve put that to bed now. We went out for lunch in Coogee after training on Tuesday to talk about the semi over a few drinks and a few laughs. Then we rocked up to training on Wednesday and spoke only about the final against the Heat. That’s the only focus now.
We didn’t want last Saturday to be our best game. In the first WBBL, we played an unbelievable semi-final and didn’t quite turn out in the actual decider. We don’t want that to happen again.
Probably the most special thing about being part of this Sixers team is how we’ve managed to keep the majority of the squad together through the years. I was thinking back not long ago to the night after our first-ever game when a few of the girls came back to our place for a drink. Mitch was there and so was Matt To’omua but the main memory I have was all the girls talking about the incredible opportunity we had to make this Sixers franchise something really fun and unique … all the way until 5am!
Everyone who rocked up that night four years ago is still with us today.
I’d love to think we can create another wonderful memory together this weekend.