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Australia stars to light up start of expanded WNCL

International players will have a couple of windows to appear in the tournament this season

Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Megan Schutt are among those in action

Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Megan Schutt are among those in action  •  Getty Images

Meg Lanning will continue her break from the game as the Australian domestic season gets underway with the expanded WNCL, but a host of international players will be on display during the opening rounds which take place ahead of the WBBL.
Even though they are missing Lanning, Victoria can still call on Ellyse Perry and Annabel Sutherland from their contracted Australia names when they face South Australia while Sophie Molineux will captain the side having taken over during the winter.
South Australia, meanwhile, are stocked with international names. Megan Schutt has been named captain while the side could feature Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown and Amanda-Jade Wellington.
New South Wales will be captained by Alyssa Healy who will be joined by Ash Gardner against Queensland at North Sydney Oval. Others with international experience include Hannah Darlington and Erin Burns, while pace bowler Maitlan Brown has featured in squads without yet making a debut.
Queensland will be captained by Jess Jonassen and their squad features Grace Harris who was a key part of the Commonwealth Games success. Georgia Redmayne has been a regular reserve player for Australia.
Western Australia will be able to call on Beth Mooney, who made the big off-season move by switching from Queensland, and breakout bowling star Alana King. Their first opponents, ACT, are the only side without an Australia-listed player.
Tasmania, who begin their title defence next month, have Nicola Carey as a current Australia representative while Heather Graham has also featured in recent squads.
From the players in Australia's contracts list announced earlier this year, Rachael Haynes won't feature having announced her retirement along with the Victoria pair of Tayla Vlaeminck (foot) and Georgia Wareham (ACL) who remain long-term injuries.
The WNCL has increased to a 12-game tournament this season with each side playing each other twice before the final. The competition begins on Friday with six sides in action with the fixtures repeated on Sunday. Tasmania and South Australia will play twice in these opening rounds while the other teams have four games.
The tournament then resumes in mid-December when Australia will be in India for T20Is, but there should be another opportunity for those players to appear after Christmas before the visit of Pakistan in January. The latter part takes place in February when the T20 World Cup is on in South Africa.