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Home Final Front Of Mind For Nitschke

16 November 2021

Shelley Nitschke // Getty Images

The final three games for the Perth Scorchers could set the team up for a home final, which would be a huge advantage according to coach Shelley Nitschke.

The Scorchers sit third on the WBBL ladder, with six wins and the healthiest net run rate in the competition, to be well placed for a finals berth.

Nitschke said it’s crucial for the team to finish the season strongly to secure a top two finish.

“There's a big incentive to make sure we finish off well, and it's pretty tight at the top as it always is,” she said.

“We know we've got three really important games ahead of us.

“We just need to focus on what we're doing and make sure we can finish off the season well, and cement ourselves up the top.”

The new finals format brought in this season means first place will be straight through to the final, with the game to be played at their home ground.

Meanwhile, third and fourth place will battle it out, before taking on second for a spot in the last game of the season.

Nitschke said the home crowd in Perth could play a huge role if the Scorchers finish in the top two.

“Last year was tough over in the hub in Sydney and not being able to get back to Perth and play in front of home crowds,” she said.

“I think it's a massive advantage if we're able to get back there and play some finals.”

The Scorchers coach said she was a fan of the new finals system, and thought hosting matches like finals would help grow the game.

“I think hosting big games and the players playing in front of big crowds is fantastic,” she said.

“It takes a bit of getting used to sometimes to be out there in the middle of a big crowd and having to perform.

“Anything that just keeps pushing the game forward I think is a benefit to everyone.”

Perth’s campaign wasn’t helped by their last match, where rain stopped the Scorchers from winning after being in a dominant position.

Nitschke said it was a frustrating result, but was confident it would not be a defining moment in the season.

“We posted a pretty decent title and backed ourselves to defend that with the ball, but obviously it wasn't meant to be,” she said.

“Hopefully it hasn’t hurt us too much if we can finish well in the next three games.”

The Scorchers will be without Sri Lankan international Chamari Athapaththu for the remainder of the tournament, who returned home ahead of her nation’s World Cup qualifier campaign in Zimbabwe.

Nitschke said while it’s a significant loss, the team is more than capable of filling the void.

“We've got some good batters in the middle order and we’re looking forward to them getting more opportunity,” she said.

“Heather Graham’s been going really well, and Marizanne Kapp I think is really settling into the tournament nicely.

“We're backing the depth that we've got there to do the job through the middle.”

The Scorchers will get to work against the Adelaide Strikers at Karen Rolton Oval tomorrow, Wednesday 17 November to launch the inaugural WBBL First Nations Round, before back to back clashes against the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers this weekend to finish off the regular season.