This article was first written for and published by the Roar.
Even though Katie Mack is in her second season with the Adelaide Strikers, she can’t help but have a soft spot for her former club the Melbourne Stars.
“It feels so good to see the Stars make the finals for the first time,” said Mack.
“I have a real soft spot for the Stars. I really enjoyed my time there and made some great friends there, not just players, but also coaching staff.
“It’s good to see them go well. But hopefully they end up in the final and get beaten by us. That would be an ideal season for me.”
But the Strikers have some work to do to make Mack’s dream a reality.
With just two games left for the Strikers in the regular season, whether they make the finals will come down to their final two games against the Sydney Thunder and the Perth Scorchers.
At the moment, the Strikers sit sixth on the ladder with 11 points but are one just one point behind the three teams ahead of them who sit on 12 points.
That makes the next two games crucial. For Mack, the key to winning both games is a complete performance by the team.
“What we can improve on is all performing at our best at once,” said Mack.
“But on the flip side, one of the big positives from this season has been that different players have stood up during different games and made a big impact.”
Good examples of this were Mack’s 50 against the Brisbane Heat and Amanda-Jade Wellington’s 2-19 in that same game, Stafanie Taylor’s 60 against the Melbourne Renegades and Megan Schutt’s figures of 3-7 against the Sydney Sixers.
The fact that the Strikers sit just one point out of the top four may surprise some fans, especially given that many wrote off the Strikers prior to the season starting.
The loss of the leading run-scorer in WBBL05 Sophie Devine to the Perth Scorchers was a challenge that many thought the Strikers wouldn’t be able to overcome. But for Mack, this has just meant a chance for other players to perform.
“Everyone has had their chance and their opportunity and taken it,” said Mack.
“We need to improve on a couple more of us doing it all in the same game.
“When we get it together and everyone on the same page during a game, we will be very hard to beat.”
Despite the Strikers not sitting as high on the ladder as Mack would like, she has still thoroughly enjoyed her season with her Strikers teammates.
“It’s a really good group of women,” said Mack.
“It reminds me a lot of the ACT Meteors team I have played for in the WNCL. We all enjoy each other’s company and are good friends away from cricket.
“Katie Perkins, who is one our replacement players, summed it up the best when she said it was a professional environment. We follow the rules, we are professional in the way we go about things and the way we treat each other, which is really important.
“We have a stance that we will support everyone in our team as well as issues we think are important.”
While hub life has certainly posed challenges, Mack has enjoyed the opportunity to spend more time with her teammates and make cricket her priority.
“I’m not working at the moment, so I am just enjoying being able to focus on cricket completely,” said Mack.
“When we were told we were going into a hub, a lot of us were worried it was just going to be like a normal hotel room, but Cricket Australia have done a good job of making it extra special.”
The lack of distractions and time outside the hub has also given Mack plenty of time to focus on one of her new hobbies.
“I actually picked up some hobbies last WBBL season, so I really love drawing and painting,” said Mack.
“I like to draw mainly botanicals, so flowers especially.
“I can’t draw a face to save my life. I keep trying to draw my boyfriend and I keep offending him because it’s so bad.”
When I suggest that perhaps Mack could set herself up in the hub and start drawing caricatures of some of the other cricketers, she isn’t so sure.
“I would offend a lot of people,” she said.
“My people drawings are so bad.”