Victoria, WA to battle in Sheffield Shield eliminator

Oliver Caffrey |

Victoria and Western Australia will do battle in a re-run of last season’s Sheffield Shield final.
Victoria and Western Australia will do battle in a re-run of last season’s Sheffield Shield final.

Western Australia’s Sheffield Shield dynasty will go on the line in a virtual elimination final against Victoria.

Dual reigning champions, WA need to avoid losing to the Vics at the Junction Oval, starting on Monday, to be assured of reaching a third successive decider.

Sitting second on the table, the visitors can still make the final with a draw.

But the hosts – one place lower on the ladder – will be pushing hard to force a result and book a spot in the final for the third year in a row.

Western Australia are chasing a third successive Sheffield Shield.
Western Australia are chasing a third successive Sheffield Shield title success. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Only Queensland (2000-2002) and Victoria (2015-2017) have won three straight Shield titles this century.

Victoria lost last year’s final, and a draw in 2021-22 was enough for WA to claim their first title in 23 years.

But the Vics will be boosted by the return of star quick Scott Boland, who was not required during Australia’s two-Test tour of New Zealand.

Veteran fast bowler Peter Siddle makes way for Boland, while Jon Merlo and Cam McClure have also been named in the squad.

Talented batter Will Pucovski is ruled out of the must-win match after being concussed yet again during Victoria’s last outing against Tasmania.

Scott Boland of Victoria.
The return of Australia quick Scott Boland is a huge boost for Victoria. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

“Our season is in our hands and we have a great opportunity against WA, who we have faced in the last two Shield finals,” Cricket Victoria’s men’s cricket boss David Hussey said.

“We’ve got some players in impressive form, led by Nic Maddinson who is coming off three hundreds in three games.”

Tasmania, who last won a Shield title in 2012-13, are in the box seat to host the final after losing just once this season.

The Tigers will lock in a decider at Blundstone Arena if they can defeat fifth-placed South Australia in their final regular-season match, starting in Hobart on Monday.

In the other game, NSW will be eager to finish their season on a high when they travel to face Queensland at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.

The Blues suffered a poor start to the campaign, blighted by a record winless streak, but revived their season in positive fashion and could finish as high as third on the ladder.

AAP