Big opportunity for me to step up and lead from the front: Sammy-Jo Johnson
With the retirement of New South Wales (NSW) greats Sarah Aley and Rene Farrell, Sammy-Jo Johnson feels that it gives her a big opportunity to step up and lead from the front. The pacer has returned to her home state after spending nine years in Queensland. The squad boasts eight players less than 20 years of age.
“They are both big shoes to fill. Hopefully, I can do my best and play a key role in leading the young bowling group,” Johnson told reporters for the first time since coming back. “There are definitely some young players coming through and a big opportunity for me to step up and lead from the front with the ball. I do want to play for my country and been in this group will definitely help me achieve the goal.”
Johnson, a key part of the Brisbane Heat side that has won back-to-back WBBL titles, has moved to Sydney to join the Breakers in 50-over cricket, while her future in the Big Bash remains unclear.
“I have played alongside the likes of Beth Mooney, Jess Jonassen and Delissa Kimmince for the last nine years. They have been a big part of my success in terms of like leadership roles and the developments on and off the park and I think the program here is most organised, more professional. It has been fantastic since I arrived,” she added.
Asked what made her to move to New South Wales, the 27-year-old said, “My partner, Bryan, had a work opportunity here in Sydney, so that sort of prompted the move and he is being a massive supporter of me in everything that I have done. So it was a sort of opportunity for me to return some favour and follow him. So that’s the reason for the move.”
“The Breakers really have a good success history. They have won 20 out of 24 titles (some ridiculous numbers), so if I can contribute to as many wins as possible, that would be fantastic. Just to play a key role with the new ball and with the bat at some point, that will be awesome,” said Johnson, who grew up watching Australian great Brett Lee.
Johnson was the spearhead of the Queensland attack for many seasons claiming 39 WNCL wickets at an average of 27. Her accurate seam bowling and power-hitting were also integral to the Brisbane Heat’s successive WBBL titles over the past two seasons.