Noffke heads west to the Warriors
Ashley Noffke has made a quick decision over his domestic plans and will join Western Australia next season. Noffke ended his 11-year association with Queensland a day after being "stunned" that he was not guaranteed a place in either of the state's limited-overs teams.
Talks between Noffke and Queensland Cricket on Wednesday night could not stop the allrounder from taking up a two-year deal with the Warriors. "It's been an extremely tough decision to make, one that I never thought I'd have to," Noffke said. "But at the end of the day the Warriors have offered me an opportunity to play in all forms of domestic cricket and that's all I was asking for. This was never about money."
Noffke, who is playing county cricket with Worcestershire, was more focussed on pushing for a return of the international honours he achieved with Australia's one-day and Twenty20 teams in 2007-08. Last season was disrupted by a hip injury that required surgery and the Bulls wanted him to concentrate on staying fit for the four-day competition.
"I'm obviously extremely disappointed that I won't be pulling on my maroon cap anymore, but I'm also very thankful to the Warriors for the confidence they've shown in my ability," Noffke said. "I certainly intend to repay their faith in me."
Queensland refused to alter their policy and offer more than a one-year contract to Noffke. Graham Dixon, the chief executive, said it was disappointing to lose Noffke after the state made its best offer.
"We spoke with Ash again last night and explained to him what our plans were for him," Dixon said. "We reiterated that the Sheffield Shield competition was our focus for him and that he did not feature in our plans for Twenty20 cricket, but we were open as to his future in the FR Cup. We are sad to lose Ash as he had been a strong contributor for a long time."
Noffke claimed 242 Sheffield Shield wickets for the Bulls in 68 matches, putting him eighth on the state's list, and scored 2430 runs, including two centuries. His departure will lead to a reshuffle in the Queensland contract list, which is currently being finalised.
Tom Moody, the Western Australia coach, was "thrilled" by Noffke's move. "Ashley offers flexibility as a high-quality bowler and very capable batsman," he said. "He will not only bring great cricketing qualities to the Warriors squad, but he also brings a great deal of experience and leadership to the playing group."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo