Madison Browne and Courtney Tairi were once allies on the international stage helping Australia’s 21/U side win the 2009 World Youth Netball Championships.
But that pair will become rivals should they face off in the upcoming five-Test Constellation Cup series between Australia and New Zealand which starts at Invercargill on Sunday.
Tairi grew up in Sydney but is eligible to represent the Silver Ferns because both her parents were born in New Zealand.
Browne, who has established herself one of the top midcourters in the world, said she’s pleased to see her former WYC teammate get an opportunity to showcase her talents on a bigger stage.
“I think she’ll bring a lot to their centre court line-up,” Browne said.
“But I think we’ve got the players to definitely combat them. We’ve just to go out and play our own game and have confidence to let the ball go … play the Australian way.”
After a strong ANZ Championship season with the Southern Steel, Tairi – who began her career at the NSW Swifts – was rewarded with selection in the New Zealand squad.
With Liana Leota unavailable and Camilla Lees missing the series because of injury, the door is open for Tairi, who has switched to the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic for 2014, to win the starting wing attack bib.
The Diamonds head into the game having lost their past four Test matches – to New Zealand and three against England back in January. But Browne isn’t paying much attention to past results.
“We’re just focusing on the job at hand and working on one another, building our combinations, slowly building on what we need to be doing on the weekend,” Browne said.
“We’re just excited with the group of girls we’ve got and know that we need to put our best performances out there.”
A packed stadium is expected to greet the Diamonds on Sunday afternoon, but that’s an environment that Browne is looking forward to playing in front of.
“We love the crowd here,” she declared of the Invercargill fans.
“They’re so passionate about netball and it’s so fantastic to come and play in front of fans and supporters that love the game so much.
“We know they won’t be barracking for us … that’s okay … we’ll be soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the moment.”
The first Test of the 2013 Constellation Cup will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Channel 503 from 5pm (AEST) on Sunday and from 5.30pm on SBS 2.