Captain Glenn Maxwell
Coach David Hussey

Squad
Hilton Cartwright, Brody Couch (injury replacement player), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Seb Gotch, Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchliffe, Syed Faridoun (Pak), Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill (injury replacement player), Tom O'Connell, Billy Stanlanke, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Joe Burns, Sam Rainbird, Joe Clarke (Eng), Qais Ahmad (Afg), Sam Elliot, Beau Webster

In Qais Ahmad, Joe Burns, Joe Clarke, Syed Faridoun, Beau Webster
Out Jackson Coleman, Ben Dunk, Andre Fletcher, Nic Maddinson, Lance Morris, Nicholas Pooran, Will Pucovski, Zahir Khan

Last season
Having fallen just short at the final hurdle in 2019-20, Stars endured a disappointing end to the season last year losing their last three matches to miss out on the finals. The loss to Renegades at Docklands is the game that will haunt them conceding 63 runs from 26 balls when Renegades had just five wickets in hand. Coach David Hussey admitted his team didn't deserve to play finals but was still disappointed when they could not win their last game with a bonus point which would have seen them scrape in. They had some injury issues with their bowlers and struggled to get the balance of the top order right.

International impact
Hussey celebrated when Australia's Test and Australia A squads dropped ahead of the Ashes with none of Stars' players required for long-form duty against England and England Lions. Australia have a three-match ODI series against New Zealand tentatively booked in to start on January 30 with the BBL due to conclude on January 28

Player to watch
Marcus Stoinis has been marked as a key man for Stars within the camp and if he performs well they will be a force. His record-breaking season as an opener two years ago set up Stars' run to the finals. He has spent most of his two years since working on his finishing skills for Delhi Capitals in the IPL and Australia in international cricket. He will need to shift his mindset back to setting the tone at the top of the order. He hasn't bowled much recently in both the IPL and in the World Cup due to some injury issues, but Stars could need his bowling skills at the MCG, particularly while Billy Stanlake and Liam Hatcher are out injured.

Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
The dependency on Maxwell and Stoinis is going to be the key challenge. In the 2019-20 season, Stoinis scored 705 runs and Maxwell 398 runs. The Stars made the final. In the 2020-21 season, Stoinis and Maxwell made 396 and 379 runs respectively. No Stars batter was among the top 10 run-scorers in the BBL.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo