Perth Scorchers coach Adam Voges admits his players were “a bit flat” after finding out Thursday’s Challenger Final would be moved away from their Optus Stadium fortress.
After six straight games on the road, the Scorchers were due to fly back to Perth from Canberra on Sunday evening before WA Premier Mark McGowan’s five-day lockdown announcement put a spanner in the works.
The match, against Sunday’s Knockout Final victor Brisbane Heat, has since been moved to Canberra.
Perth are yet to taste victory in three attempts at Manuka Oval in BBL10, a far cry from their dominant 4-0 record at Optus Stadium.
Voges said while they didn’t get much say in the matter, it made sense to play the do-or-die clash in a city where both teams were already located.
He backed his charges to embrace the challenge of trying to reach a sixth Big Bash League final “a slightly tougher way”.
“It was Manuka or nothing so there wasn’t much say in that,” Voges said.
“Both teams were already here and it obviously made sense to do that.
“The Gabba wasn’t available from all reports so we’ll get on with it and look forward to Thursday night.
“We were probably fortunate we weren’t on a direct flight, there’s only one direct flight from Canberra to Perth that we were able to get on and it wasn’t until 7.30pm.
“We found out a few hours before that so it gave the boys and opportunity to digest that.
“I know a lot of them were looking forward to getting home but as I said to the players, we just have to do it a slightly tougher way now and we’re looking forward to that challenge.”
It means five Scorchers, bound for the Twenty20 tour of New Zealand straight after the BBL finishes, won’t see their family and friends until next month.
Captain Ashton Turner, Mitch Marsh, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson will head across the ditch for the five-match series, starting in Christchurch on February 22, instead of back to WA.
Injured allrounder Ashton Agar is the other Scorcher in the 17-player squad, but he has remained in Perth while he recovers from calf and finger injuries.
“Initially they were disappointed that they weren’t going to get home,” Voges said.
“I guess when you’ve got it in the back of your mind that you’ve earned the right to play a home final and regardless of the result against the Sydney Sixers the other night, we were going to get that opportunity and that was taken way, they were a bit flat.
“To their credit, they’re professionals and have been doing it for a long time now so they’ll dust themselves off, they’ve got a day off today, and be refreshed and ready for training tomorrow.”
The Heat are coming off four consecutive wins, including a six-run triumph over the Scorchers in Adelaide in their final home-and-away clash.
Perth have recorded back-to-back losses, with reigning champions Sydney Sixers smashing them by nine wickets in Canberra on Saturday.
Mitch Marsh was fined $5000 for his expletive-laden outburst at an umpire after being wrongly given out caught behind for two.
Voges said the introduction of the Decision Review System would eliminate reactions like that and understood Marsh’s frustrations.
“I certainly understand Mitch’s reaction, I think it was the third time that he copped an incorrect decision in the tournament,” Voges said.
“It was a big moment in a big game so I can’t understand the frustrations from Mitch, but having said that he knows it’s unacceptable to react that way to any umpire’s decision.
“Mitch has accepted responsibility and he’ll cop his fine.
“The whole incident is avoided with DRS, you don’t get an emotional outburst, you just get a review.”
The winner of Thursday’s clash takes on the Sixers at the SCG in Saturday’s decider.