Photo Credit: Sydney Thunder
Experienced all-rounder shuts doors on rival to remain at Sydney Thunder
Effervescent all-rounder Sammy-Jo Johnson had no problem articulating how she felt about signing on to play for Sydney Thunder in this summer’s Weber Women’s Big Bash League.
“I’m stoked,” said Johnson after signing a contract that ties her to the club for at least another two-years. “I’m bloody stoked.”
The 29-year-old said she had rejected offers from rival clubs because of her firm belief in what – and who – Thunder represents.
“I love everything Sydney Thunder stands for,” she enthused. “I love its connection to the community, and I love that we represent the western suburbs – I have been a ‘westie’ since I came down from Queensland, and I wouldn’t live anywhere else.
“It pleases me to know I represent that region of Sydney whenever I put Thunder’s shirt on.
“Some other clubs came knocking – nipping at the ankles – but I shut that down quite quickly. I had no plans to leave Sydney Thunder and my teammates.”
Johnson, who has earned a mighty reputation as a breakthrough wicket-taker, a destructive batter, and big-match winner, revealed she’d rejected an offer to play in England’s popular Hundred competition to ensure she was firing on all cylinders in this summer’s WBBL.
“I had a last-minute opportunity to go to England, but I said ‘no’ because I wanted to make sure I was fit, strong and healthy for Thunder,” she said. “Last season I felt as though I let the team down a little bit as a senior player, and I wanted to make sure I ticked some boxes during the off-season.
“I’ve worked hard on my fitness, and I feel strong. I was away from home for six months last year, but, heading into WBBL|08, I feel as though I’ve benefited from having a routine because I am feeling strong and confident.”
Johnson predicted Thunder’s brigade of young players would use this season to prove they’d benefited from the responsibilities they shouldered during their tough WBBL|07 campaign in which the team plummeted from defending champions to finishing in seventh position.
“Rachael Haynes’s unavailability [due to motherhood] was our big loss,” said Johnson. “Her leadership; the way she directs the team, her attacking mind and tactical nous is miles ahead of other cricketers in this country.
“That leadership is why we’ve enjoyed success in the past. In saying that, Hannah [Darlington] did a fantastic job as captain.
“She’s a young player and leading a WBBL team at such a young age  and at a stage when you’re still learning the trade would be a tough gig for anyone.
“However, Hannah has my respect for the job she did. She showed everyone she has great qualities as a cricketer and person. Hannah has an enormous future.
“Last summer provided our younger players with high pressure moments which allowed for them to get experience under their belts. It will put them in good stead for the big matches we have coming up this summer.
“All of us – senior players included – have reviewed last season and if we’ve learnt from our mistakes we’ll definitely be at the upper end of this year’s ladder.”
Coach Trevor Griffin described Johnson as a player who added an extra edge to Thunder.
“Sammy-Jo is quality with the ball, powerful with the bat, and what we saw in her batting towards the backend of last year’s WBBL is she has more than just the power game,” said Griffin.
“Some of the shots she played through the covers suggested to me she’s much more than a player who is pigeon-holed as a big hitter.
“Sammy-Jo has the ability to bat in a number of roles, she can bowl at different stages of the game ,and I’m delighted she’s decided to continue playing with Thunder.”
Sydney Thunder WBBL|08 Home Fixtures
Sydney Thunder WBBL|08 Squad
Head Coach: Trevor Griffin
Contracted Players: Rachael Haynes (c), Samantha Bates, Tammy Beaumont, Hannah Darlington, Jess Davidson, Corinne Hall, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Olivia Porter, Lauren Smith, Tahlia Wilson
Sydney Thunder BBL|12 Squad
Head Coach: Trevor Bayliss
Contracted Players: Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Rilee Rossouw, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, David Warner, David Willey
Sydney Thunder BBL|12 Home Fixtures
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