Brown backs replacement Selby-Rickit

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 12/07/2014
Jodi Brown
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
LOOKING FOR A TEAM: The Southern Steel have decided to part company with Jodi Brown.

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Netball

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A disappointed Jodi Brown is backing Te Paea Selby-Rickit to perform next season after being released by Southern Steel this week.

Brown was called to a meeting with Steel chief executive Sue Clarke on Tuesday and informed her services would not be required for the 2015 season.

It was an unexpected blow for the Silver Ferns goal attack, who has captained the Ascot Park Hotel-sponsored team for the past three years.

''It came a bit out of left field; I wasn't expecting it, but I've accepted it and I'm moving on,'' Brown said.

Privately, the 33-year-old is gutted by Steel's decision to opt for Selby-Rickit as their starting goal attack for next season but she understands the move.

''I think, given my experience and my maturity in terms of being around netball for a while, these things happen in sport. It's not nice when it happens to you, and I've never been in this position before, but I've been able to deal with a lot better than some others would have.''

Clarke said the decision to let a player like Brown go was not an easy one.

''We need to have succession plans in place to ensure our franchise continues to thrive, and that includes identifying opportunities for players to step up to the plate,'' she said.

''After reviewing our strategic goals moving forward, we have identified the need to look further than just the next season. For us, that means investing in players who we believe will excel given the chance to take our franchise into the future.''

It is understood Steel were faced with the prospect of losing Selby-Rickit to another franchise because she was eager for a starting position.

The New Zealand under-21 player, who has been evolving her game from a pure shooter into a goal attack, was ready, Brown said.

''She's been on the bench for a long time and this year she was more than capable of getting onto the court. Now it's just that time for her to do it. We've done a lot of talking and she's ready; she was just unlucky that she had two international shooters ahead of her this year. It's going to be sink or swim, but she's got a good long-range shot and good capabilities feeding the ball in.''

Brown will leave with the Silver Ferns this week ahead of their buildup for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

She missed the previous two Games, after being injured on the eve of the Manchester Games in 2006 and getting pregnant ahead of the 2010 Games in Delhi.

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Having previously played for the Tactix and Magic, the Dunedin-based Brown wants to continue playing at trans-Tasman level but knows her options are now limited.

Bailey Mes' shift to the Tactix could mean the Pulse, who will be looking for a replacement for Donna Wilkins, may be her best fit.

''I've commuted before when I had one child, but it's whether a franchise is open to commuting and what's happening with our family. It's all up in the air at the moment.''

- The Southland Times

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