Molineux excited by NPS opportunity

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Sophie Molineux has had a big year.

A promising WNCL, strong WBBL and recognition as the Betty Wilson Young Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal night, has been capped off by inclusion into the inaugural women's National Performance Squad (NPS).

Held at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, the NPS will spend the week training under coach Leah Poulton, before the Australian Women's Team join them on Sunday for training and a series of matches in preparation for the Women's Ashes.

Victorian Molineux is excited about how the opportunity will expose her and her fellow squad members to life at the top level.

"I am really excited. I think it is a great opportunity and I am really lucky to be involved in something that exposes me to the top level," Molineux said.

"Training with the Australian Women's Team, hopefully really benefits me and the other girls who have been given the chance to come to Brisbane.

"It will give me a good idea of what I have to do and how far I need to go to get to that next level."

With a new MOU completed encompassing a record breaking pay increase for female players, and a gender equity pay model, the Victorian all-rounder is proud of the improvements in the female game, such as the addition of a female NPS program.

"It's growing in leaps and bounds," she said.

"Our program is starting to look like the male program now, so that is really exciting."

The advances seen in the 2017 MOU have been thanks to the past players that created the legacy for female cricket, Molineux says.

"This MOU being finalised has put in perspective how fortunate we are compared to the past players who have gone before us.

"We owe it to that group for their contribution to the game, which has allowed for the good result in the MOU that the game was able to achieve.

"The increased pay is a bonus, but the way that female players are now recognised and put in the same category as the male players, is a huge step for cricket," she said.

Molineux's goals for the coming season are focused around taking as much in at the NPS as possible, but also to keep enjoying her cricket as she looks towards a big year with the Victorian Spirit and the Melbourne Renegades.

"Being able to go up to Brisbane and train with the Australian team will be a real learning curve for me," Molineux said.

"Enjoyment is a key factor for me in getting ahead with my cricket: If I am enjoying playing, the results will come and opportunities like these will arise."

The full Women's National Performance squad includes: Maitlan Brown (ACT), Piepa Cleary (WA), Ash Gardner (SA), Heather Graham (WA), Tahlia McGrath (SA), Sophie Molineux (VIC), Rachel Trenaman (NSW), Belinda Vakarewa (NSW).