Revitalised opener Marcus North is pleased with the direction of West Australian cricket but has warned the Warriors must win finals before being able to claim a shift in the State's fortunes.

WA have three outright wins this season, including the fighting victory over Tasmania last week, but have not played in a Sheffield Shield final for 15 years.

Perth Scorchers' Big Bash win provided the WACA's first silverware in a decade.

"There is still a bit of a way to go before we turn the corner," North said.

"The journey is progressing nicely and to win something for WA cricket was great. We have been very competitive this season and we are playing better under pressure.

"It is encouraging. But it is only when we start making shield finals and Ryobi Cup finals and winning them can we then say we have turned the corner and entered a golden period."

North maintained his superb batting form on his return to shield ranks, scoring 87 and 79 in the win over Tasmania to take his season tally to 759 runs.

Only nine WA openers have reached 800 runs in a season, while Chris Rogers' record of 1156 runs at the top of the order is within reach.

The left-hander will be a crucial player when WA take on top team NSW at the WACA Ground tomorrow with Blues coach Trevor Bayliss identifying new-ball bowler Doug Bollinger as the key to his team's prospects.

North's momentum reflects that of the Warriors.

In good touch before the two-month break for the Big Bash, both batsman and team were impressive in their return to red-ball cricket.

North's composed mental state, thorough knowledge of his own game and eagerness to spend time practising against a red ball throughout the Big Bash tournament helped him quickly adapt to the different requirements of first-class cricket.

"The challenge for me was to go from the form I had before Christmas and start it up again," he said. "We had an extended break away from the red ball but I still had the confidence and belief about where I was this season.

"I was able to tick a few boxes to do with my game plan and mental approach, approaching bowlers, leaving the ball, shot selection, that sort of stuff."

North returned to the WA change room to find the players buoyed by the triumph in the Big Bash final.

"It was a monkey off our back for a WA team to win a final after 10 years," North said.

"It gives the younger blokes belief they can do it again."

·Spinner Ashton Agar has replaced injured paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile in the WA squad to take on NSW.

The West Australian

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