Rene Farrell to retire after Sunday's WNCL final between NSW and Western Australia

Rene Farrell. Picture: Chris Lane
Rene Farrell. Picture: Chris Lane

There is little that Rene Farrell has not achieved in cricket.

More than 100 games for her country, a number of Women's National Cricket League titles and countless wickets, with an Ashes hat-trick the highlight.

But perhaps what Farrell will be proudest of will be the legacy that she and others will leave as the pioneers of Australian professional women's sport for the next generation.

The St George-Sutherland Slayers star will play her final game of an illustrious career when NSW take on Western Australian in the WNCL final at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.

The fast bowler has played 13 WNCL seasons, starting and finishing her career with NSW either side of stints with Western Australia and ACT.

Farrell will play her 82nd and final WNCL match on Sunday, having taken 130 wickets at an average of 19.27, including 47 matches for the Breakers snaring 84 wickets at 16.33.

Farrell was also a foundation player for the Sydney Thunder in the Women's Big Bash League and a member of the team that won the inaugural WBBL title. She played 66 matches for the Thunder, taking 79 wickets at 20.18.

Picture: Cricket NSW

Picture: Cricket NSW

Farrell also played 101 matches for Australia across all three formats from 2007 to 2017, taking 114 wickets. In three Tests she took 17 wickets at an average of just 9.88 with best figures of 5-23.

The St George junior and former Georges River College, Penshurst Girls campus student said she was proud of how far women's cricket, and women's sport in general, had come in her time.

"We used to train two nights a week from six to eight o'clock. That was it. You'd work full-time as well. To see the girls being able to pretty much train full-time and see the game come to where it is, it's a really exciting product at the moment so it's only going to continue on in leaps and bounds. And I think it's really exciting for these young girls and what they can achieve," she said.

"[I'll take a] bit of a break and travel, chill out and see what the future holds. It's really exciting, hopefully I don't get too bored but I'm sure I'll find something to do and someone to annoy. I obviously do have a massive love for the game and I do owe it so much for what it's given me throughout my career. So if something comes up I'd definitely love to stay involved but if not we'll see what else the world has to offer for me."

The 33-year-old said there would only be time for reminiscing after Sunday's final, with Farrell keen to go out a winner as part of a NSW side filled with young stars of the future.

"Probably a bit of relief that the body can finally rest and relax for a little bit. But there will obviously be some sadness as well, retiring from the game that I love and making a lot of friendships that I'll have for life. That's obviously really sad. But I think the time is definitely right for me and it'll be onto bigger and better things hopefully," Farrell said.

"Obviously on a personal note getting an Ashes hat-trick was pretty awesome. But now in the back end of my career you appreciate every win. Every time you play a game of cricket and win is special. Purely because you don't know when the last time that could happen or when your last game is. So I think just realising that you're a part of something big and to take something from each game is something special for me."

While NSW have won the competition for all but three years since its inception and made the final in every one of its 24 seasons, Farrell admits for the team to reach this year's final was a bonus. But a chance they were keen to not let slip.

"To be honest I didn't think it was possible. It could have been classed as a bit of a rebuilding stage but the girls have shone in different stages," she said.

"And everyone has put their hands up at different times. It hasn't been our Australian players that have stood up or our senior girls, it has been everyone contributing throughout different stages of matches. So I think that's been really exciting. For me I'm just pumped to get a home final and be apart of another final because I did not expect it at the beginning of the year.

"Obviously it's really exciting that we've made another WNCL final. But it's business as usual. I'll probably have a few nerves before the game on Sunday like any other game. But it's just exciting to be part of another final and hopefully we can get the girls over the line.

"I've probably been counting down the training sessions and warm ups to be fair. But apart from that it's just another game at the moment. It'll probably sink in at the end of the game or on Monday [after I] reminisce with the girls. But at the moment I think it's exciting. It's just another game so hopefully we can get the win and celebrate in style."

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