WING ATTACK: Kelsey Browne in a training match against Suncoast Lynx.
WING ATTACK: Kelsey Browne in a training match against Suncoast Lynx. Warren Lynam

Scoreboard not important in Steel clashes: Browne

NETBALL: If both sides had their way the scorers could take the weekend off when Sunshine Coast Lightning hosts Southern Steel in two trials at University of the Sunshine Coast Stadium. this weekend.

Ten days out from its Round 1 clash against Queensland Firebirds at Brisbane Entertainment Centre, scoreboard results are still not high on Lightning's priority list as coach Noeline Taurua prepares to finalise her starting seven.

The clashes on Friday and Sunday represents a final chance for Taurua to decide who plays where in SSN, with the mid-court likely to provide the only major headache.

For Steel, it will be the first time they step out since Taurua left for the Coast after minor premiership success in 2016. It will also be the debut of their new coach Reinga Bloxham and a chance for some younger players to make their intentions clear, with four Silver Ferns yet to return from international duties.

The Sunshine Coast Netball team, The Lightning at Alexandra Headland ahead of their inaugural season in the competition. Stephanie Wood, Kelsey Browne, Laura Langman, Geva Mentor, Caitlin Bassett, Cara Koenen, Erena Mikaere, Madeline McAuliffe, Karla Mostert, Laura Scherian.
The Sunshine Coast Netball team, The Lightning at Alexandra Headland ahead of their inaugural season in the competition. Stephanie Wood, Kelsey Browne, Laura Langman, Geva Mentor, Caitlin Bassett, Cara Koenen, Erena Mikaere, Madeline McAuliffe, Karla Mostert, Laura Scherian. John McCutcheon

They too, aren't focused on scoreboard results this weekend, with the new-look New Zealand domestic competition not kicking off until March 26.

Lightning mid-courter Kelsey Browne still thinks it will be a "good challenge” and is eager to test her side's style against the Kiwis.

"Hopefully we can come away with a couple of wins but it's just awesome to have them over here to get another practice match under our belt,” she said.

NETBALL: Sunshine Coast Lighting v Melbourne Vixens at Caloundra Indoor Stadium. On attack is Lighting's Kelsey Browne.
NETBALL: Sunshine Coast Lighting v Melbourne Vixens at Caloundra Indoor Stadium. On attack is Lighting's Kelsey Browne. Patrick Woods

Lightning won its opening friendly against New South Wales Swifts at Sunshine Coast Grammar last month, but has since lost four on the trot.

While hopeful of turning that around, Browne said winning still wasn't the focus with no sheep stations up for grabs in the two trials.

"Scores are never really the outcome we care about, I think it's more about the combinations we get out there and making sure we string four quarters together,” she said.

IN ACTION: Kelsey Browne.
IN ACTION: Kelsey Browne. Paul Smith

She believes the side has learned a "hybrid” style from Taurua that will help it combat Steel.

"Australian style of play is very much defensive one-on-on and we like to wear our opposition (players) down, whereas New Zealand style of play is very much area defence in that zone and we've obviously got Noels (Taurua) as our coach so she's very experienced with that.”

Browne has spent most of her time on court at wing attack during the pre-season, sharing the duties with former Firebird Laura Scherian.

She said the jostle for positions had built a strong culture within the team already.

"I think all the girls are taking that (opportunity to shine) with both hands,” she said.

Lightning is due to welcome back England and South African representatives Geva Mentor and Karla Mostert after their international duties, but it is unclear whether they'll lace up this weekend.



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