Bolstering the pace attack was a priority for Head Coach Jason Gillespie, with experienced NSW quick Harry Conway swapping blue for red this summer alongside exciting speedster Henry Thornton, who journeys from Victoria. Delighted with the acquisitions, Gillespie points to not only the clear talent on display, but also the desire to be a part of cricket in South Australia following performances with the Strikers.
“It’s so exciting that lads come and spend time at the Strikers and feel South Australia is a great place to be. It’s wonderful to be able to get these guys over. Henry got drafted into the second half of the BBL and I thought he did remarkably well. He fit in so well to the group, he clearly enjoyed himself, the players enjoyed playing with him and it is fantastic to have him here.
“Henry brings air speed, he pitches the ball up and moves it away from the right handers at pace. Harry is a tall fast bowler with plenty of skills. He can move the ball off the straight but also the height and bounce he can generate is fantastic. He’s also a big personality who aspires to be a leader around the group, he wants to be a leader and that is fantastic.”
Depth has also been added to the spin bowling ranks with the arrival of Ben Manenti, who made his first-class and List A debuts with Tasmania last summer, adding to consistent performances with Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash.
“We’ve had our eye on Ben for a little while now, and what we are really excited about is his competitive nature and how he goes about his work. He is a really competitive guy who plays to win, and we know that energy will add significantly to the squad.”
Young quick Jordan Buckingham and dynamic batter Thomas Kelly have been upgraded to full contracts after impressing on rookie contracts last year, with both making their first-class debut in the Redbacks thrilling Sheffield Shield victory against NSW to punctuate the season.
“We’re delighted to be able to offer Jordan and Thomas places on our full contract list. They’ve earned it through hard work and pure effort; they thoroughly deserve this. Their attitude when it comes to training, preparation and games is so positive and that is really noticeable and is great for our group.
“These young guys coming in showing how desperate they are to thrive at first-class level and bringing aspirations to play as high a level as possible, they’ve got that desire, attitude, and positivity that we covet. We want guys that come in with a glass half full mentality; they are the type of people and players we want representing South Australia.”
Returning to the squad is powerful left-arm quick Spencer Johnson, who has fought back into contention by way of a stellar season with the ball for both West Torrens and the Second XI that yielded a total of 59 wickets.
In addition to the departing Joe Mennie, who’s storied journey with the Redbacks came to an end mid-season, Kane Richardson and Daniel Worrall have called time on their South Australian careers as they pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Since making his first-class debut in 2012, Worrall has forged a brilliant career as a consistent and respected pace bowler, proudly wearing the baggy red throughout. Unleashing just shy of 10,000 deliveries for South Australia in Sheffield Shield cricket, Worrall takes a total of more than 250 wickets in red with him as his family begin a new adventure in the UK with County Cricket side Surrey.
Debuting in one-day cricket with South Australia in 2009 and taking to the field in first-class cricket in 2011, Richardson makes the move to Queensland as the Redbacks second most prolific wicket-taker in limited overs cricket, with 82 to his name from 52 fixtures in conjunction with 98 red ball victims from 33 Shield appearances.
Richardson has also been a mainstay of the national limited overs setup, debuting in 2013 and appearing 45 times across 50 and 20 over cricket, including as a key member of World Cup squads in both formats.
South Australia would like to thank Mennie, Richardson and Worrall for everything they have done for Redbacks cricket and wish them well in their next challenges. South Australia also thank Ryan Gibson, Sam Kerber and Tim Oakley for their contributions, as well as Corey Kelly who has taken a step away from State cricket for personal reasons.
Joining the Redbacks via the rookie list are three young and exciting talents in the form of Glenelg’s Isaac Higgins, Sturt’s Harry Matthias and NSW prospect Aidan Cahill.
“It's a real big tick for our pathway system to see these players develop. Isaac has done really well at Club level and has had opportunities to represent South Australia and Australia at underage level and Harry played Under 19’s for South Australia while performing well at grade level; he will bring some great depth to our wicketkeeping stocks.
“Aidan is a young, dynamic batting allrounder who gives the ball a real whack and bowls medium fast. He is aggressive and gets on with the game; a real positive impact player. To be able to offer a young, exciting cricketer a chance to be on our rookie list is brilliant.”
Preparing for his second full season at the Redbacks helm, energy and passion is clearly something that Gillespie not only wants to foster within the group, it is something he and his coaching staff possess in vast quantities.
“It is really exciting to be able to promote from within in regard to upgrades due to performance, but also some more experienced guys coming in to add real, genuine depth to our squad. It’s bloody exciting. We’ve shown we mean business and there is going to be huge competition for places which is just fantastic.
“I am incredibly excited. The lads are all jumping out of their skin ready to get in here and get to work. We want guys who desperately want to be perform and be successful for South Australia and that’s what we’ve got. The energy and positivity that every player on our list will bring is huge and we can’t wait to get going.”
South Australia 2022-23 contract list: Wes Agar, Jordan Buckingham, Kyle Brazell (rookie), Aiden Cahill (rookie), Alex Carey (Cricket Australia contract), Bailey Capel (rookie), Jake Carder, Harry Conway, Brendan Doggett, Daniel Drew, David Grant, Travis Head (Cricket Australia contract), Isaac Higgins (rookie), Henry Hunt, Spencer Johnson, Thomas Kelly, Ryan King (rookie), Jake Lehmann, Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Ben Manenti, Harry Mathias (rookie), Harry Nielsen, Lloyd Pope, Liam Scott, Henry Thornton, Jake Weatherald, Nick Winter.
In: Jordan Buckingham (upgraded), Harry Conway, Spencer Johnson, Thomas Kelly (upgraded), Ben Manenti, Henry Thornton, Aidan Cahill (rookie list), Isaac Higgins (rookie list), Harry Matthias (rookie list).
Out: Ryan Gibson (delisted), Corey Kelly (personal), Sam Kerber (delisted), Joe Mennie (UK), Tim Oakley (delisted), Kane Richardson (QLD), Daniel Worrall (UK).