“Getting a WBBL contract is a goal that I’ve been working towards for a couple of years now so it’s exciting to see that hard work paying off,” Learoyd said in a statement. “It was a great experience to be invited along to a couple of Thunder training sessions last season and I’m really looking forward to being part of it this season.”
Learoyd was also one of the vital contributors to the success of ACT/NSW Country team at the U-18 National Championships finishing as the leading run-scorer with 384 runs at 42.7. She is an integral part of the NSW Women’s Indigenous team and has also represented the Homestar Finance Thunder Indigenous XI.
Another Thunder young gun Hannah Darlington who is also a proud Kamilaroi, said she is excited to at the prospect of Learoyd joining the squad. “I’ve seen Anika develop over a couple of years now and I always knew she was going to be a real talent. She’s a really hard-working player and I think she’ll be a great addition to the team,” Darlington said.
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“It’s going to be amazing to have another Indigenous player join our squad. The fact that the Thunder Nation is so inclusive and connected to culture is something that I really love about our club and feel very lucky to be part of.”
Thunder head coach Trevor Griffin stated this is a natural progression for the promising batter. “It’s exciting to have another high-quality batter coming into our side,” Griffin said. “Anika has performed really well through Cricket NSW pathway programs and this is a great opportunity for her to step up and showcase her abilities on a bigger stage.”
Learoyd’s signing comes in after Thunder have already confirmed the availabilities of all-rounders Sammy-Jo Johnson and Lauren Smith, besides retaining South African speedster Shabnim Ismail. Thunder begin their campaign against Perth Scorchers on October 17.
The squad so far: Rachael Haynes (C), Sam Bates, Hannah Darlington, Saskia Horley, Shabnim Ismail, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Lauren Smith, Rachel Trenaman and Tahlia Wilson.