Netball: Brown back in captain's role, aiming for place in top six

Dunedin-based Silver Ferns shooter Jodi Brown will again captain the Southern Steel and will have midcourter Wendy Frew as an experienced deputy.

Coach Janine Southby yesterday confirmed the leadership structure following the Steel's first official training session in Invercargill.

Last year was a tough one for the Steel, which began the rebuilding process following the departures of long-serving coach Robyn Broughton and a group of players.

Brown said she was now expecting the players to take on more responsibility to lift the Steel's performances.

''We have a season under our belts now so it's time for us as players to really step up and I'm looking forward to driving that.

''We do want to be self-responsible and we do want to make sure we take ownership as players,'' she said.

Brown, a mother of two, said a strong team dynamic was already emerging at the Steel.

''There's a really good vibe and everyone is excited to start. We've established a good base which we will continue to build on as pre-season progresses so we can push forward and keep reaching our targets.

''We are realistic about what we are going to achieve in 2013, and if we stay focused on that, we will reach the desired outcome.

''We are aiming to be in the top six and, considering we finished ninth last year, I think that will be a solid achievement. Anything after that will be a bonus.''

Frew, who returns to the Steel environment after a year off following the birth of son Archie, was excited to be given the vice-captaincy.

''It's a huge honour for me and I'm really looking forward to the role,'' Frew said.

''Jodi is a fantastic leader and she shows it on and off the court, so it will be great to work alongside her and assist where I can.''

The intensity of the ANZ Championship placed considerable demands on players - a challenge Frew was already embracing.

''Just having the opportunity to return to the court in the toughest netball league on the planet is motivating enough. This extra leadership role increases the desire even further to lead by example and make sure I am setting the bar high for our younger players.''