The wicketkeeper Tom Triffitt has joined Western Australia on a two-year deal and is likely to be the state's first-choice gloveman following the departure of Luke Ronchi. Triffitt, 21, has played ten first-class matches for Tasmania over the past two seasons but he was set to have limited opportunities in 2012-13 after Tim Paine's recovery from a long-term finger injury.
Western Australia had sounded out Paine's interest in moving to Perth but he declined, and they are also believed to have shown interest in the New South Wales wicketkeeper Peter Nevill. The Warriors were in need of a new gloveman after Ronchi left at the end of last summer to pursue his career in New Zealand, and his backup Michael Johnson was not offered a new contract.
Triffitt has shown promise throughout the under-age pathways and was part of Australia's triumphant Under-19 World Cup squad in 2010, a side that was captained by Western Australia's Mitchell Marsh. He said the interstate move was too good an opportunity to pass up, with the chance to earn regular appearances in both first-class and one-day cricket.
"I will always be grateful for the chance that Cricket Tasmania gave me to play at interstate level in the last three years, but with Tim Paine coming back from injury I have had the opportunity to move west and I am looking forward to a long career with the Warriors," Triffitt said. "It is sad to leave my home state but I can't wait to get over to Perth. I have a few friends in the Warriors such as Mitch Marsh, Tom Beaton and Travis Birt, who I all played with, and I also look forward to getting to know the other guys in the squad and hopefully enjoy some success."
Although Triffitt is likely to start the season as Western Australia's leading wicketkeeper, he will face competition from Cameron Bancroft, 19, who made his state debut last summer, and Sam Whiteman, 20, both of whom have played for the Australia Under-19s. The Western Australia coach Lachlan Stevens said Triffitt would be a valuable acquisition.
"Tom has been part of a really successful program in Tasmania and has played in two Sheffield Shield finals, so not only does he bring youthful exuberance, he also brings big game knowledge and we know that will help our group," Stevens said. "He was one of the successes of the Australian team that won the Under-19 World Cup, and we are starting to assemble a few of those key players in our squad. That core group of young talent will complement the experienced personnel we have.
"We see Tom adding a bit of assuredness to our middle and lower order. We weren't as dominant at six and seven as we wanted to be last season, and there was a burden left to eight and nine. Hopefully Tom will help to ease that. It is exciting to have three young wicket-keepers on board with Tom joining Sam Whiteman and Cameron Bancroft. All three have a role to play and it should create healthy competition within the group, which can only be a positive for Western Australia."
The state associations have until the end of the week to finalise their contract lists for next summer, with the major moves so far having been the departures of Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja and Nathan Hauritz from New South Wales. Tasmania have also picked up the fast bowler Andrew Fekete, who made his debut for Victoria last season.