Steel name leaders

Silver Fern Jodi Brown will once again captain the Southern Steel with midcourter Wendy Frew an experienced deputy.

Coach Janine Southby confirmed the leadership structure following the Ascot Park Hotel-sponsored team's first official hit-out of 2013 in Invercargill.

Brown said 2012 proved a considerable learning curve with the bulk of the players and management team new to the Steel environment. However, she was now expecting the players to take on more responsibility in regard to the Steel's overall campaign.

"We have a season under our belts now so it's time for us as players to really step up and I'm looking forward to driving that," she said.

"We do want to be self-responsible and we do want to make sure we take ownership as players."

A strong team dynamic was already emerging.

"There's a really good vibe and everyone is excited to start. We've established a good base which we will continue to build on as pre-season progresses so we can push forward and keep reaching our targets," Brown said.

"We are realistic about what we are going to achieve in 2013 and if we stay focused on that we will reach the desired outcome.

"We are aiming to be in the top six and, considering we finished ninth last year, I think that will be a solid achievement. Anything after that will be a bonus. Ultimately that's our goal, we just have to set little goals in-between and once we achieve those we can move up."

Frew, who returns to the Steel environment after a year off to welcome her son Archie, was excited to be bestowed the vice-captaincy.

"It's a huge honour for me and I'm really looking forward to the role. Jodi is a fantastic leader and she shows it on and off the court so it will be great to work alongside her and assist where I can," she said.

The intensity of the trans-Tasman series placed considerable demands on players - a challenge Frew was already embracing as she prepares to re-enter netball's elite ranks.

"Just having the opportunity to return to the court in the toughest netball league on the planet is motivating enough but this extra leadership role increases the desire even further to lead by example and make sure I am setting the bar high for our younger players."

Now in her 11th season with a southern franchise team, Frew is well-equipped to assess potential.

"There are a lot of enthusiastic and committed girls here and you can already tell everyone has been working really hard in the off-season," she said.

"As a team we need to be consistent and come off the court after every game with no regrets and be able to look each other in the eye and know we gave 100 percent."

The Southland Times