ACT Meteors call for a longer WNCL season
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ACT Meteors call for a longer WNCL season

One pre-season is enough for most but the nature of the WNCL has thrown the ACT Meteors into another one, leaving stars Erin Osborne and Angela Reakes to call for a fixture reform.

The Meteors duo were on hand at the Canberra Summer of Women's Sport launch at the University of Canberra on Wednesday, alongside the WNBL's Canberra Capitals and Canberra United of the W-League.

ACT Meteors' Angela Reakes, Canberra United's Rachel Corsie, and Canberra Capitals' Leilani Mitchell at the season launch.

ACT Meteors' Angela Reakes, Canberra United's Rachel Corsie, and Canberra Capitals' Leilani Mitchell at the season launch.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The Meteors were the only ones without a game immediately on the horizon given their six-match season is played over three weekends in a near five-month span.

The nature of the WNCL season raised a few eyebrows among scores of basketball and soccer players. In comparison, the Capitals play 21 games and United play 12.

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The ACT finished round one almost a month ago and won't be in action again until November 9 and 11, before breaking up for premier cricket and WBBL commitments ahead of the WNCL's final round in February.

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"To be honest it has been frustrating," Osborne said.

"We played our first round four weeks ago, and we finished on a real high by beating Queensland. Now we’ve almost gone back into pre-season.

"The structure is not ideal, I don’t think you’re able to hold any momentum in this competition. We have fallen back into pre-season again, and one pre-season is enough for me per year, so to have two has been a real struggle.

"I think everyone would like to see more games played in the WNCL competition, it’s such a critical development competition for young players in Australia.

"The Big Bash has its place, and it is wonderful and exciting to play in. However if you’re not batting in the top four, you hardly get an opportunity.

"It is crucial for the development of the next Australian players coming through. The more games we play, the better for cricket in Australia.

ACT Meteors cricket captain Erin Osborne.

ACT Meteors cricket captain Erin Osborne.Credit:Jamila Toderas

"We’ve seen the likes of Zoe Cooke come back into the competition and she is opening the bowling for us. Tilly Lugg is a young 18-year-old who will develop and hopefully play for Australia one day.

"They’re the aspirations our players have, but they’re not going to do that if they’re only playing the Big Bash competition."

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Reakes concedes adopting a format similar to the one used in the men's domestic one-day competition would not be viable given the semi-professional state of women's cricket in Australia.

The Meteors and Sydney Sixers star says the influx of international players in the WBBL makes it "a bit tough for the younger kids to develop their game", so lengthening the WNCL would prove crucial in terms of developing female players.

The Summer of Women's Sport launch marked the second year the clubs have come together in a bid to forge a relationship across the codes, and United's South African import Refiloe Jane made the most of her opportunity.

Standing just 168 centimetres tall, Jane was all smiles as she posed for a photo with Capitals star Marianna Tolo's towering 196cm frame.

The season launch wasn't the only time the three squads cross paths.

"We’re really lucky that we actually train in the same gym. We see some of the Canberra United girls or the Caps girls training, and naturally you see them lifting heavy weights so you want to lift a bit heavier and just show how strong you are," Reakes laughed.

"It’s really important that all of Canberra gets behind all three teams. I’m just as excited to see the United girls kick off their season, and it was good to see the Caps win against the Flames last week.

"We’re really lucky, I’ve been in a few states previously playing sport and Canberra is probably one of the best capitals to support their women’s sport. It’s awesome, bring it on, more and more."