Robyn Broughton ready to face Southerners

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 07/04/2012

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Netball

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If Robyn Broughton still harbours any bitterness towards the Southern Steel franchise she certainly isn't showing it.

The legendary Southland netball coach, who guided Sting to seven National Bank Cup titles, left Steel on acrimonious terms at the end of last year's trans-Tasman netball league. Steel's foundation coach was effectively given a vote of no confidence and told to re-apply for her job.

A disappointed Broughton chose not to stick her name in the hat and ended up taking her wisdom and former Steel players Paula Griffin and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit up to the Wellington-based Central Pulse.

The two sides clash today in Napier for the first time since Broughton's departure in a game that should feature an abundance of emotion.

The sight of Broughton coaching against her former team will be an unusual one for many southern netball fans. Broughton said she had well and truly put her exit from Steel behind her and was approaching today's game like any other.

"People say [Steel] are your team, but they're not my team. I've moved on and so has everyone else.

"I'm a professional netball coach and certainly I look at [today's game] as just part of the ANZ competition."

When asked if she had a point to prove to the Steel organisation today, Broughton offered this response: "No, no, no. I'm well past it. I'm not interested in them. I'm completely over that and it's good. I've really enjoyed the change."

Pulse, who had only won five of their 52 ANZ Championship games entering 2012, made an encouraging start to their campaign against the Mystics last weekend.

Pulse kept pace with the Mystics for large stages of the contest until the Aucklanders broke away in the final quarter to record a 51-47 victory.

The Pulse were served outstandingly by their defensive trio of Katrina Grant, Selby-Rickit and major off-season recruit Joline Henry, but paid the price for some inconsistent shooting, where they were only able to convert 75 per cent of their chances.

Griffin had a poor outing for the Pulse, landing just 63 per cent of her attempts and Broughton said the Silver Fern shooter needs to step up her game.

"She needs to lift up. At that level, 63 per cent isn't good enough. I'm sure she won't go back out there and do that again. She will have learned from that."

Broughton said she had been impressed by Steel's stunning 49-47 upset over the Magic in week one and heaped praise on Donna Wilkins, who was a cornerstone of her successful Sting sides.

Pulse had a great deal of appreciation for both Wilkins and Steel, Broughton said, and admitted they had to shut down the former dual international if they were to win today.

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"When Donna is on fire, she's determined to do what she wants and she'll do it. We have to make sure we don't let Donna and Jodi (Brown) dominate. That to me was the strength (against Magic).

"They've got old heads there and we need to respect those olds heads like Donna, Jodi, Demelza (McCloud) and Sheryl Scanlan. Phillipa Finch has been around forever too."

Broughton, who was born in Wellington and lived there until she was 17, is loving life in the capital. She is residing next door to Henry and Griffin, who like Broughton, are turning over a new chapter at the Pulse. "I think we're the same. They love their sport and love their netball. We've all just had a change and moved on."

Today's game starts at 4.20pm.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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