Heat head coach Ashley Noffke (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Heat head coach Ashley Noffke (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Noffke in positive mindset ahead of WBBL title defence

CRICKET: Sunshine Coast product and Brisbane Heat coach Ashley Noffke says he's feeling comfortable ahead of his side's bid to defend a Women's Big Bash League crown.

Noffke, a local Scorchers legend and former Australian One Day International player, took on the role as coach of the outfit in June and has since led the Heat women through a dominant, table-topping, Twenty20 season.

Now, they're on the hunt to cap the season in the best way possible when Allan Border Field hosts the WBBL finals across Saturday and Sunday.

Heat, the WBBL's defending champions, will tackle Melbourne Renegades in their semi-final while Adelaide Strikes battle Perth Scorchers in the corresponding match with the grand final to be held on Sunday.

Despite the pressure of attempting a title defence on home turf in his maiden season at the helm, Noffke was in a positive mindset ahead of the weekend.

"(I'm feeling) really comfortable," he said.

"It is a little bit business as usual for the next couple of games but we still want to keep playing attacking cricket and enjoying those big moments in the game and putting our best foot forward."

He was eager to play on home turf but said the Heat would need to be at their best to topple Renegades and gain a berth into the decider.

"It is a decent advantage being in front of your home friends and family but obviously with that comes a little bit of pressure too so the girls really do have to switch that off and get back to playing their really good cricket," he said.

Noffke said it would be a momentous feat to not just make the final but defend their WBBL title. "It'd be a great thrill and feather in the girl's caps to be able to go through a tournament like this in T20 and be dominant, it's a great opportunity this weekend to show people how good the team is," he said.

Tewantin's Lilly Mills was signed by the club prior to the season and made her debut in late November.

Noffke said a side was yet to be selected for the finals but that Mills would be among discussions on a final line-up.

He expected Beth Mooney to shine again but was confident that whoever was named to hit the field this weekend would get the job done.

"I still think we haven't seen the best of Grace Harris. I think she could be someone that could dominate through the middle period of the game and really take the game away from the opposition with bat or ball," he said.

"Obviously Jess Jonassen has been incredible through this tournament and had some really highs with bat and ball.

"But we've got lots of match winners, Laura Harris, Amelia Kerr, Maddy Green - We're in a lucky situation where we've got some real match winners in a number of spots."


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