Seniors expected to take step up

Coach Brendon Diamanti wants the senior players at the club to lead the way.

‘A big focus over the next couple of years for me is to develop that next generation of players for the club,’ he said.

‘Culturally, the messages that our senior group are sending through their actions, the way they train, the way they play, that is something that is of utmost importance to me.’

Craig Simmons claimed the 2012/13 Olly Cooley medal for the WACA First Grade best and fairest player after scoring 517 runs and claiming 47 wickets.

The star all-rounder has long been a thorn in the side of the opposition.

Last year’s captain Sam Whiteman showed the extra responsibility was no concern, flourishing as a first-year Western Warrior, which is set to restrict his time back at the Mariners.

Diamanti, a former New Zealand international, has singled out the reliable Tony Coulson as important to the team’s fortunes.

The 112-gamer will have a new role higher up the batting order, a change from his job as the finisher at number seven.

‘His record is as good as most in the top order but he is continually faced with being set at the crease, being not out and having to bat with the tail,’ Diamanti said.

‘I would like to see him with more responsibility, more time at the crease to win games earlier in the piece and make the most out of his skills.’

The Mariners have been in the top echelon in T20 and 50-over cricket, regularly playing finals in the limited-over forms of the game. Fixture changes will see the league consist of an even split of two-day and one-day cricket, which is sure to advantage the club possessing a number of explosive match-winners.

Aiding the cause of improvement for Rockingham-Mandurah will be the performance of the lower grades.

Second Grade made finals last year, while Fourth Grade continue to march deep into the season, searching for an inaugural finals berth.

Diamanti hoped this would translate to the First Grade side, which slipped to 12th after contending until the last couple of weeks.

The player-coach cited Jayden Derosa and Elliot Lyons as players on the rise and capable of making an impression.

A battery of developing pace bowlers could determine if the grades make the finals.

‘There is a bit of excitement about our bowling group,’ he said.