Photo Credit: South Australian Cricket Association
The West End Redbacks have today finalised their playing list ahead of the 2023/24 season, a squad highlighted by extensions for key players, the return of local prospect Kelvin Smith and the recruitment of Jake Fraser-McGurk.
In addition to the recently announced long-term extensions for key quicks Jordan Buckingham and Spencer Johnson, Wes Agar, Daniel Drew, Jake Lehmann, Ben Manenti, Nathan McSweeney, Harry Nielsen, Lloyd Pope and Liam Scott have all signed contract extensions to remain with the Redbacks, while Kyle Brazell, Aidan Cahill, Isaac Higgins and Harry Matthias all retain their rookie contracts for the coming summer.
South Australian local Smith will add to his exciting story for the Redbacks this summer, with the left-handed batter returning to the state side following late season call ups to the Sheffield Shield and One Day Cup sides in March.
Originally contracted in 2013, Smith has worn the South Australian baggy red 21 times and made his One Day Cup debut in the recent Final. The 28-year-old earns his contract on the back of consistent Premier Cricket performances and strong showings in the Final against Western Australia and the Redbacks final Shield game of 2022-23, a battle against NSW at Karen Rolton Oval.
At just 21 years of age, Fraser-McGurk has already played eight First-Class games for his home state of Victoria, as well as 12 One Day Cup fixtures. With half-centuries in both formats, McGurk has shown rousing promise with bat in hand; something South Australia will look to showcase for at least the next two seasons.
Fans may also recognise Fraser-McGurk for his exploits in the field, where he has forced himself into the conversation as one of the best attacking fielders in the game. In a moment that went around the cricketing world, Fraser-McGurk took a stunning, one-handed outfield catch while playing for the Renegades and with 17 catches from just 25 BBL appearances, the dynamic young talent is sure to bring plenty to that aspect of the contest.
Cricket General Manager Tim Nielsen said the strength of the South Australian list sees them well placed to continue the resurgence that saw a Grand Final appearance and back-to-back Shield wins last season.
“Our squad has seen significant change in recent years and we are confident that the Redbacks are in a position to expand on the results we saw last summer,” Nielsen said.
“To have the likes of Nathan McSweeney, Spencer Johnson and Jordan Buckingham agreeing to long-term contracts, key players committing to the journey and fresh talent such as Fraser-McGurk wanting to play for our State, it is clear we are heading where we want to go, which is long-term success.
“Add to this the recruitment of Ryan Harris to our coaching panel and I believe we have a fantastic opportunity to do something special for South Australia in the coming seasons.”
Reigning Dansie Medallist Manenti has been rewarded for his breakout summer with a contract extension to keep him in South Australia, while key batters McSweeney and Drew have also committed for longer term deals with the Redbacks following consistent summers in both formats.
With ball in hand, Agar has re-signed on the strength of another consistent summer that saw the right-arm quick selected for the Australia A tour of New Zealand last month and allrounder Scott and leg-spinner Pope will also continue their time in South Australia with contract extensions.
Stepping in as South Australian captain late last summer, Lehmann is set to add to his 71 First-Class and 49 One Day Cup games for the Redbacks as he stays in Adelaide after agreeing to an extension. Nielsen will also remain in red following an extension to his existing deal, with the wicketkeeper/batter eyeing additions to his record of 37 First-Class and 21 One Day Cup fixtures.
Alex Carey and Travis Head have retained their Cricket Australia contracts following a packed international summer across all formats. The schedule does not provide any respite in the winter months, with both currently preparing for the World Test Championship Final against India and a huge Ashes campaign on English soil.
South Australian Contracted Players: Wes Agar, Kyle Brazell (Rookie), Jordan Buckingham, Aidan Cahill (Rookie), Jake Carder, Alex Carey (CA), Harry Conway, Brendan Doggett, Daniel Drew, Jake Fraser-McGurk, David Grant, Travis Head (CA), Isaac Higgins (Rookie), Henry Hunt, Thomas Kelly, Jake Lehmann, Ben Manenti, Harry Matthias (Rookie), Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Harry Nielsen, Lloyd Pope, Liam Scott, Henry Thornton, Spencer Johnson, Kelvin Smith