Steel patchy in Melbourne

Last updated 23:11 22/02/2013
Jodi Brown
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
NEW COMBO: Steel captain Jodi Brown says shooting partner Jhanielle Fowler is "amazing".

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Towering Jamaican international Jhaniele Fowler staged her Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel debut in Melbourne tonight.

"It felt good in the Steel blue. I loved it and felt very proud pulling my uniform on," she said.

In the opening clash of the Melbourne Vixens inaugural Summer Challenge, the host team accounted for the Steel 42-26.

The Vixens, last year's beaten grand finalists, proved a tough first up assignment and their experience as a unit was clearly evident at times.

While still in its infancy, Fowler's combination with goal attack Jodi Brown oozes potential. Both current international players, Brown's knack for crafty feeds and Fowler's 1.98m frame should have netball pundits salivating when the season proper kicks off at the end of March.

"I think it's going to be amazing and we already know each other well. It just needs a little fine-tuning and it will come," Fowler said.

In the shooting stakes, Fowler slotted eight of her 10 attempts in the first half before being ably replaced by young gun Te Paea Selby-Ricket who nailed an impressive 13 from 15.

Also staging her Steel debut, Rachel Rasmussen proved a tenacious addition to the defensive ranks, with dynamo Phillipa Finch a pivotal link through the court.

Down 5-10 after the first of four 10-minute quarters, the Steel were unable to reel the Vixens back  within striking distance, trailing 13-21 and 21-32 after each of the following stanzas.

The Steel will now face the Auckland-based LG Mystics later this evening before testing its metal against the four remaining Australian franchises during the weekend.

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