Firebirds coach Siddons back and ready to roll

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2014
Jamie Siddons
CRAIG SIMCOX/ Fairfax NZ
FIRED UP: Wellington Firebirds coach Jamie Siddons is not wasting anytime after returning from Australia.

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The text message has been sent and now Jamie Siddons waits to see who'll turn up at the nets today.

The Wellington coach can't assemble his Firebirds on a formal basis - given next summer's contracts don't commence till October 1 - but he's back from holiday and ready to take up residence at Westpac Stadium.

''What I say is: I'm in at the indoor centre three days a week from 10 till 1, love to see you there,'' Siddons said, having arrived back from Australia this week.

A few younger batsmen are chomping at the bit, with Michael Pollard having hit balls since the end of last season as part of New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) winter training group. Firebirds bowling coach Brent Arnel is also in touch with his lot, ahead of the announcement of Wellington's contracted players for 2014/15 on July 25.

It's been harder to get off, rather than on, that list in recent years and not a lot will differ this time.

''We've got five or six who will be into the last year or two of their careers I guess, so they'll probably hang on and a few younger guys will be fighting for spots. I don't think there's any new recruits that we'd be looking to contract at this stage,'' Siddons said.

''There's not really any need to change and I don't think we'll push too many out - out of that top 10 at least. There'll be some movement up and down, on performance, but that's about it.''

Tom Blundell (up) and Josh Brodie (down) were last summer's big on-the-park movers, which ought to be reflected on the contract list. Otherwise it will be the status quo, with Wellington unlikely to have anyone other than Luke Ronchi and perhaps Grant Elliott within cooee of an NZC contract.

That creates the odd issue for Cricket Wellington during the negotiation process, but should be an advantage where it counts for last season's one-day champions.

''I keep telling everyone: we don't have Black Cap players so we should be winning everything and we didn't. The aim is similar this year.

''Hopefully we get a couple of Black Cap players, but other teams are weakened so we should be the dominant team.''

Siddons is a finalist in the coach of the year category at the Wellington Sports Awards tonight. With three trophies up for grabs each domestic cricket season, he said finally winning one was more a source of relief than reason for an award.

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- The Dominion Post

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