Netball: Brown commits to Steel - and closer family ties

Jodi BrownFormer Silver Ferns shooter Jodi Brown gets bossed around at work by her husband, Markham Brown, and now she is set to get bossed around by another family member.

The experienced shooter joins midcourter Hayley Saunders as the first players to commit to the Steel for next season.

Brown works part-time for Basketball Otago helping with the Nuggets' media arrangements - her husband is the general manager.

And now the 30-year-old will be working with her sister in-law, Steel co-coach Janine Southby (nee Brown).

"I think it should be pretty much smooth sailing," Brown said.

"To be honest, I had to think hard about it when I heard she was co-coach because I just assumed it would be Robyn [Broughton].

"I really enjoyed working with Robyn during my cameo performance for the Steel this year, so I was prepared to play for the Steel with her coaching. But I had a really good talk with Janine and we talked through lots of things, especially if we have disagreement and what happens.

"But I think we've both grown a lot since the last time we were in that situation and it should be fine."

Southby coached the Otago Rebels from 2006-07 and Brown played in the side in 2007 along with her other sister in-law, Megan Graamans (nee Brown).

The other interesting dynamic in Brown's decision to sign with the Steel is her relationship with former Silver Ferns shooter Daneka Wipiiti. There has been a lot of media speculation about whether Wipiiti will return to play for the Steel next season, with some suggesting Brown would replace her in the squad.

The pair play together for the Otago women's basketball team, the Goldrush.

"We haven't really discussed it. I take it that she is kind of undecided about where she will play next year. But if she stayed it would be great. We haven't really played in a netball team together but I've enjoyed playing with her at the Goldrush.

"I guess it will come down to what is right for her family."

Perhaps it may also come down to value for money. Wipiiti was one of the better paid players in the squad but had a very disappointing season.

Brown played for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in 2010 and was unavailable for international duties last year. She opted, instead, to extend her family.

Her hiatus was short-lived.

Just seven weeks after the birth of her second daughter, Aria, she was called into the the Steel team and made a cameo appearance against the West Coast Fever.

Brown is an experienced campaigner and accurate shooter, but perhaps her most valuable asset is her ability to read the game. She is also a very fine passer of the ball.

Saunders, who was a member of the New Zealand Fast-Net team which claimed the world series title late last year, will be in her third season with the Steel.

Steel chief executive Julie Paterson said the Steel had a commitment to building and retaining local talent.

"In the past we've had a reputation for simply buying players from other regions," she said in a statement.

"But the future success of this franchise lies in our own local talent and creating pathways for players to represent the Steel.

"Jodi and Hayley have extremely strong links to our region and we're thrilled they will form such an integral part of Steel's future."