EXPERIENCED all-rounder Ethan Bartlett has again made himself available to spearhead Wagga Sloggers' Regional Big Bash campaign.
Bartlett headlines a 19-man Sloggers squad that has been named to take on ACT Aces, Border Bullets and Murrumbidgee Rangers in the group stage of the statewide Twenty20 tournament.
Wagga will open their campaign against ACT Aces in Canberra on Sunday week, December 5, before a double header against the Bullets and Rangers at Lavington Sportsground on December 12.
Bartlett, who plays in Canberra, was the man behind the Sloggers' run to the semi-finals in the 2016-17 season, when Wagga made it through to the SCG for the deciders.
He also brought the Sloggers undone in 2020 when starring for the Aces in Wagga.
Wagga Sloggers coach Shaun Perry is rapt to have Bartlett back representing his home association again.
"Ethan's really keen and the guys are keen as mustard to have him in there," Perry said.
"He'll bat somewhere in the top four. Ideally I'd like to use him at four and bring him in when the spinners are on because he quite likes it. When we played against him a couple of years ago, we had (ACT) on toast and he came out and hit six sixes in a row. Then it was game over."
Bartlett will play for Wagga under the 'city of origin' rule, where teams are allowed two players that hail from the association originally. That is on top of the one 'marquee' player allowed.
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Bartlett is a powerful top-order batsman and opening bowler so his talent and experience will be a huge boost for the Sloggers, given a number of senior Wagga cricketers chose not to make themselves available.
Perry is happy with the talent available at his disposal.
"We're pretty happy. A lot of blokes made themselves available, which was good," he said.
"We would have liked for a few more experienced players to make themselves available but we still haven't got a bad side there.
"It's a bit unknown because we haven't had any cricket."
Perry revealed Wagga will go into the crucial game against ACT further undermanned.
"The unfortunate thing is when we play ACT, who are going to be the side to beat, we've probably got our weakest side because of guys being unavailable," he said.
"That makes it hard. We've still got a fair side though. The side we've got to go to Albury with, I'm confident we can win both games."
The selection of the likes of Josh Thompson, who will captain Wagga, Sam Perry, Dave Garness and Brayden Ambler gives the Sloggers some representative experience.
The Sloggers selectors have also pinned their faith in some new faces, with Rikki Bovey and Tim Kross only having arrived this season and have just the one game under their belt.
Josh Thompson (c), Brayden Ambler, Dave Garness, Angus Grigg, Ethan Perry, Charlie Cull, Sam Perry, Ethan Bartlett, Nathan Corby, Rikki Bovey, Sam Smith, Will Morley, Hamish Starr, Jake Scott, Ben Turner, Blake Walker, Darcy Irvine, Jack Carey, Tim Kross.
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