“It’s pretty emotional to be honest,” Marsh said. “I’ve shed a few tears.
“It’s definitely up there. Dad always spoke about his Shield wins as being the highlight of his career and this feeling that I’ve got inside my body now it’s definitely up there and I’m just so happy for the playing group.”
“I battled through day four,” Marsh said. “It was probably the best and worst day of my life to be honest. The emotions were going through my body and I couldn’t be more proud of Sammy and Hards in that partnership.
“The game was in the balance and the way those two came out and batted it was just incredible and really put us into a commanding position. That partnership [is] up there with the best I’ve seen in 21 years.”
Hardie finished with 174 not out, his highest first-class score, while Whiteman made 123 to go with his 85 in the first innings and faced over 500 balls in the match to be named player of the final.
“It’s very special,” Whiteman said. “It means a lot to everyone in the group, and it varies from person to person. But you think of Shaun who’s played for 20-odd years. A lot of the group has played for 10 years now and we probably messed up a few chances along the way. You start doubting whether it’s going to come but it feels amazing.”
Whiteman’s performance is made all the more extraordinary given he has reinvented himself as an opening batter, after playing as a specialist wicketkeeper in WA’s previous two finals before a finger injury forced him to give away the gloves.
“Before the game my wife said to me, who would have thought you know, seven or eight years after your last Shield final that you’d be playing as an opening batter,” Whiteman said. “And yeah, I wouldn’t have guessed it, going from the keeper to opening. It’s special to be part of the team, play my small role, and, yeah, just pumped for WA cricket.”
“I’m still okay with the toss,” Handscomb said. “I think hindsight is an interesting one. Looking back, we probably could have gone harder at the bonus point and then we get to try and control the game and try and get the draw that way. But at the time, we thought the wicket would deteriorate a little bit more than it did. We thought we’d be able to force a result somehow whether it be a win or a loss.
“We didn’t really expect the pitch to kind of play like that. To see no cracks on a WACA wicket day four or five is a little bit interesting.”
Handscomb had no qualms with WA batting Victoria out of the game noting his side would have done the same had they been in the same position. As disappointed as he was with the result, he was delighted for Marsh, who he played alongside for several years with Australia.
“Bloody happy for Sos,” Handscomb said. “He’s a good mate of mine. It’s good that he’s been able to do that.”