Towering Jamaican international Jhaniele Fowler loved every minute of her debut for Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in Melbourne last night.
"It felt good in the Steel blue. I loved it and felt very proud pulling my uniform on," she said.
"I felt somewhat nervous but it was good to finally get on court. It was very intense though - there was nothing pre-season about the shoving and pushing out there."
The Vixens beat the Steel 42-26 in the opening game of Melbourne's inaugural Summer Challenge.
The Vixens, last year's trans-Tasman league beaten grand finalists, proved a tough firstup assignment and their experience as a unit was clearly evident at times.
The Steel can take heart from the bulk of their performance although patches of inconsistency and poor decision making proved costly.
Overall, it was nothing time together as a unit won't fix.
While still in its infancy, Fowler's combination with goal attack and fellow international Jodi Brown oozes potential.
Brown's knack for crafty feeds and Fowler's 1.98-metre frame should have pundits salivating when the season proper starts at the end of next month.
"I think it's going to be amazing and we already know each other well," Fowler said.
"It just needs a little finetuning and it will come."
In the shooting stakes, Fowler slotted eight of her 10 attempts in the first half before being replaced by young gun Te Paea Selby-Ricket, who nailed an impressive 13 from 15.
Also making 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 10-minute quarter, 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 were next to face the Auckland-based Northern Mystics before testing their mettle against the four remaining Australian franchises over the weekend.
- The Southland Times