ROOKIE coach Joel Charles is hoping to produce some magic for Wanneroo in WA Premier Cricket with the help of two former professionals and a rising County batsman.
The Roos’ WA Premier Cricket season launches on Saturday against Fremantle, with former premiership captain Charles looking to improve on the team’s 12th-place finish in 2016-17.
Wanneroo has secured the services of 19-year-old English first-class batsman and national U19 captain Max Holden from County side Middlesex.
Holden, who will open the batting, has played 11 first-class matches at an average of 42.11.
He was most recently on loan to Northamptonshire and also captained the national U19s side.
Holden is not expected to appear for Wanneroo until next month when he recovers from injury.
In a further boost, the Roos have had former Test firebrand Mitchell Johnson coaching its bowlers, while former South African professional H.D. Ackerman has taken on the batsman in what Charles labelled a “huge bonus for us”.
He said Johnson was likely to play some T20 matches for Wanneroo and could play the last two one-day matches before the two-day competition begins at the end of the month.
“He’s been really good for the young blokes, he’s come down at least once a week, sometimes twice, and has been there for about three hours… he is really invested in it,” he said.
The side has also welcomed back talented paceman Jack Cattrall from Claremont Nedlands.
Charles said Cattrall had not been getting enough overs at the Tigers given he finished the season with the competition’s best bowling average and strike rate.
He finished seventh in the number of wickets taken.
“He bowled probably 10 overs a game and when you’re taking that number of wickets, you’re probably thinking you’re not getting enough opportunity,” Charles said.
Christian Smith will take over from Chris Quelch as the side’s captain.
Young gun Matthew Spoors will look to take his batting to the next level having signed a rookie contract with WA.
Charles was looking forward to the challenge of his first coaching stint.
The offer came as a surprise, with his only mentoring experience coming from a batting development program he recently ran with the juniors.
“That was my first foray into proper coaching and I really enjoyed it, so when they asked me to do this, I jumped at it,” he said.
“I had to do my level two accreditation, which I did at the end of July, and off we go.”
Wanneroo faces Fremantle away on Saturday, with the Port Boys losing much of their top WA talent to the domestic one day series.