Anika Learoyd. Photo: Albert Perez - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images
Anika Learoyd. Photo: Albert Perez - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images

From Corindi to Sydney: Learoyd secures Big Bash deal

FROM humble beginnings playing for a junior boys side in Woolgoolga, Anika Learoyd is primed and ready for the next step in her career.

Learoyd has just inked a two-year deal with the Sydney Thunder in the Womens Big Bash League, just months after moving to the capital to join the ranks of the NSW Breakers.

The NSW Breakers play in the Women's National Cricket League and Learoyd was offered a contract after her debut in February.

The 18-year-old, who grew up in Corindi Beach, was understandably rapt with the news and was making the most of the opportunities that come with such a change.

"So far I have absolutely loved it," she said.

"It is very different from home and while I am missing the fam, I am really enjoying the training."

Learoyd began her career at the Northern Districts Rebels and as a Gumbaynggirr woman, represented NSW at the National Indigenous Cricket Championships.

And while the young batter is no stranger to training hard through 'the pathways' - a reference to the junior development teams - Learoyd says there has been a difference at that next level up.

 

Anika Learoyd of New South Wales bats during the National Indigenous Cricket Championships Women's Final match between New South Wales and Queensland in Alice Springs earlier this year. Photo: Albert Perez - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images
Anika Learoyd of New South Wales bats during the National Indigenous Cricket Championships Women's Final match between New South Wales and Queensland in Alice Springs earlier this year. Photo: Albert Perez - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images

"There is bit of a mentality shift and I think higher expectations," she said.

"There is a more of professional environment and we are expected to perform to a higher quality and be thinking about a lot of different things."

Thankfully, managing that step up is made a lot easier when you are surrounded by seasoned professionals and Learoyd can learn from some of the best in the business.

The up-and-comer is soaking up the advice from team mates - some of which are Australian representatives - and clearly understands the significance of the opportunity she has worked so hard to earn.

"It has been unreal, I have really enjoyed trying to get as much knowledge as I can, listening to their experiences and taking any opportunity to work with them."

"One (player) who really comes to mind is Rachael Haynes - she has really gone out of her way to help me whenever she can. She has picked up on a couple of things and given me some solutions I could work through to fix them."

Haynes is an Australian Test and ODI cricketer with more than a decade of professional cricketing experience.

Rachael Haynes during the 2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup final at the MCG. Picture: Mark Stewart
Rachael Haynes during the 2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup final at the MCG. Picture: Mark Stewart

And despite her fantastic achievements it's clear Learoyd is still grounded. Her sights are set firmly on doing her best when the opportunity arises, whether that be for the Breakers or the Thunder.

"Obviously having long term goals is effective but making sure you are keeping things in perspective (is important)," she said.

"I am hoping to make bit of a contribution in the two sides and getting out there and experiencing some game time would be unreal.

"It has just been a really great experience and I look forward to the season ahead."