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Former Aussie coach takes reins of Heat, Fire as Noffke departs | cricket.com.au

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Queensland and Brisbane Heat lose second head coach of the off-season with Ashley Noffke accepting a role across the Tasman

Brisbane Heat and Queensland Cricket have lost another experienced mentor with women’s head coach Ashley Noffke accepting an overseas role in New Zealand.

The former Bulls allrounder, who was twice named Weber WBBL coach of the year in 2019-20 and 2020-21 will finish up in his Fire and Heat roles this week after being appointed Otago men’s head coach.

Noffke is the second head coach to move on from Queensland this off-season after KFC BBL|13 title-winning men’s leader Wade Seccombe resigned in March. It’s understood Noffke was a serious contender to replace Seccombe before being edged out by Johan Botha.

Former Australia women’s coach Mark Sorell, who has been an assistant coach with the Fire and Heat and part of the QC pathways system for the past five years, has been appointed Noffke’s replacement.

Noffke took on the dual coaching roles in 2019-20, winning a WBBL title in his first season and guiding Queensland to their inaugural Women’s National Cricket League title in 2020-21.

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The 47-year-old, who made 150 appearances for Queensland and played an ODI and two T20 internationals for Australia across a 12-year playing career, took the Fire and Heat back to the finals of their respective competitions last summer, losing to Adelaide Strikers in the WBBL|09 decider and Tasmania in the WNCL.

He has also coached London Spirit in The Hundred last year (as he will again in 2024) and was assistant coach of UP Warriorz in the first two editions of the Women’s Premier League.

South Island side Otago will be hoping Noffke can spark a resurgence in 2024-25 after finishing fifth out of six teams in both the Plunket Shield (four-day) and Super Smash (T20) competitions last season.

“It’s bittersweet to be leaving the Fire and the Heat,” he said. “I’m excited about what lies ahead, especially working in a new program, but there are a lot of good memories from my time in Queensland.

Noffke (centre) with Jess Jonassen (left)​, Kirsten Pike​ and Mark Sorell​ (right) during last year’s WBBL Draft // Getty

“I’m thankful for the guidance and support from the senior players, especially Jess Jonassen and Georgia Redmayne, and Mark as the assistant coach and a good mate.”

Queensland and Heat captain Jonassen said the squad was well placed to manage the coaching transition.

“We’ve undergone some change throughout the off-season and to have ‘Motsa’ (Sorell) commit to the head coach position is a great way to provide our group with some stability moving forward,” she said.

“He is extremely experienced and brings a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm to the role. I’m excited to see him dive in and continue to challenge the group.

“Obviously it’s sad to see ‘Noffers’ go; he has been pivotal in helping me grow as a player and more importantly, as a leader.

“He has always brought a lot of structure to the program and has consistently looked to challenge players to improve holistically.

“His care for the program has been evident throughout his entire five years with us and I know he will be continuing to follow the group closely from afar.”

Sorell was Australian women’s coach between 2005-07, with the team winning 17 of 21 one-day internationals during that period.

Former Fire and Heat pace bowler Courtney Winfield-Hill will again join the Heat’s WBBL coaching team, reprising the assistant role she filled last season, while state female talent manager Jeff Thomas will also assist during the pre-season and the upcoming summer.

The Fire announced their 2024-25 contract list last month with England batter Lauren Winfield-Hill, wife of Courtney, wicketkeeper Mikayla Wrigley, batter Lucinda Bourke and allrounder Lily Bassingthwaite the new additions for next season.

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