Sammy-Jo Johnson signs up with New South Wales after nine years with Queensland

Sammy-Jo Johnson named Queensland Fire Player of the Year

Sammy-Jo Johnson smashes one into the stands. © Getty Images

Sammy-Jo Johnson, the seamer who plays for Brisbane Heat, has moved to New South Wales (NSW) from Queensland, it was announced on Thursday (June 18). He returns to NSW after nine years with Queensland.

“I’m a Lismore girl and played all my underage Pathway cricket with NSW, so it feels a bit like I’m coming home,” said Johnson, who joins teenagers Emma Hughes (19, seamer) and Anika Learoyd (18, top order batter) as the new faces in the 17-player squad for 2020-21.

While Hannah Darlington, the Sydney Thunder allrounder and WBBL05 Young Gun, was awarded a full contract for 2020-21, Naomi Stalenberg and Saskia Horley were left out.

Johnson’s signing provides NSW with valuable experience with Sarah Aley and Rene Farrell having retired last season. The NSW squad has as many as eight players under 20 and is one of the youngest on record, according to Dominic Thornely, the head coach.

“I spent nine wonderful years in Brisbane playing for the Fire and I’m very grateful for the opportunities Queensland Cricket gave me,” said Johnson, who has claimed 39 Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) wickets at an average of 27 spearheading the Queensland attack.

ALSO READ: WNCL, WBBL to continue in current form, as Cricket Australia introduces operational changes

“The stars have aligned for my partner Brian and I. He has been a great support to my cricket career and now I can support him with an opportunity that has arisen in Sydney.”

Johnson comes into a side that has won 20 of the 24WNCL titles. While she has tasted success with Heat, who have won the last two editions of the Women’s Big Bash League, this would be an altogether different experience for the seamer.

“The Breakers have lost some talented Australia players lately and have an exciting young squad so I hope my experience can help them on their journey,” said the 27-year-old.

“This gives me the opportunity to be part of the Breakers, who have a great tradition of sustained success. I harbour an ambition to play for Australia and believe the Breakers can help me achieve that goal by playing a key role for them.”

NSW had made the finals of the WNCL last season under a new coach, Thornely. He now heads into his second season with the side, having guided the youngsters, including seven teenagers, well in 2019-20.

“While last season was deemed a successful one for our new look Breakers squad, we still have a great deal of improvement and consistency to establish,” said the former New South Wales captain.

“This year’s squad is one of immense talent, skill and flexibility. We have obviously lost some incredible experience in Rene Farrell and Sarah Aley. They are both winners, played competitively and have all the attributes of a NSW Breaker.”

“We have brought in Sammy-Jo Johnson to replace some of that experience and all-round talent, whilst Hannah Darlington’s impressive season could not be overlooked and she has been rewarded. We also have included two exciting talents in Anika Learoyd and Emma Hughes to add to the endless list of talent our state is producing in this era.”

Squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Rachael Haynes, Ashleigh Gardner, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Lauren Cheatle, Maddy Darke, Hannah Darlington, Lisa Griffith, Emma Hughes, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Lauren Smith, Rachel Trenaman, Tahlia Wilson.