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Brown steps into familiar territory

Published: 6:18PM Wednesday September 02, 2009 Source: ONE Sport

There will be a sense of deja vu for Jodi Brown when she links with the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic for the 2010 ANZ Championship season.

Old playing partnerships will be renewed when the former Silver Ferns shooter dons the Magic colours alongside Irene van Dyk, Frances Solia and coach Noeline Taurua.

The quartet played together for Wellington-based teams at various stages during the late 1990s and subsequent years.

A member of the Canterbury Tactix team for the past two seasons, Brown jumped at the opportunity to play for the Magic when it became an unviable proposition to uproot her family and re-locate on a permanent basis to Christchurch.

"This was a personal decision based on my family circumstances,'' Brown said.

"My support network for myself and my family is in Dunedin and Magic have a proven philosophy in terms of players commuting which has worked really well for Irene (van Dyk). I've commuted to Christchurch for the last two years and I just couldn't afford to move there.''

With husband Markham the operations manager of World Fitness Centre in Dunedin, the main bread winner of the family, and 10-month-old daughter Kiana in tow, Brown said it was an unrealistic option to make a permanent move anywhere.

"Noeline's philosophy is if you have a happy person off the court, they're a happy person on the court and will perform as well,'' Brown said.

"And for me, that meant I could keep my family in Dunedin because that's where Kiana's grandparents are, babysitters. All the support networks who help with looking after her. When I know that's all in hand and taken care of, I can concentrate fully on netball.''

Brown was enticed to Wellington, from Wanganui, as a 16-year-old schoolgirl in 1998 where she found herself playing alongside then

Silver Ferns shooter Taurua, and in following years Solia and van Dyk. She played the entire 10 years of the national league, turning out for four franchises while also making the Silver Ferns for the first time in 2003, with the team going on to win the world championship title that year.

Brown has no doubts about the move being a good one.

"I can't wait until we get under way,'' she said.

"I have a long history with Noeline, firstly as a player, and I have only heard good things about her coaching so thought it was a great opportunity for me to come and learn from her.''

She is also relishing the chance to play with van Dyk again and Solia, who was her chief bridesmaid when she married.

A heart-breaking knee injury the day before competition began, ruled Brown out of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne and the opportunity to share in the Silver Ferns gold medal-winning exploits.

Following a long rehabilitation from knee reconstruction and the birth of her first child, Brown, 28, is now committed to regaining a spot in the Silver Ferns.

"I really would like to, if I'm good enough, be selected to go to the 2010 Commonwealth Games,'' she said.

"I got to experience some of the atmosphere last time and I just have a burning passion to get to another one and play in it. That's my goal but for the moment it's just one step at a time.''

Taurua was excited Magic had secured Brown.

"She brings a huge amount of experience in both shooting positions at the top flight,'' the coach said.

"There are areas I think she can improve in but looking at her statistics from last year, she was the next best shooter behind Irene and it's all about your shooters being able to put it through the hoop."