Madi Browne believes Vitality Netball Superleague isn’t too far away from Suncorp Super Netball

Madi Browne believes that the Vitality Netball Superleague isn’t too far away from Suncorp Super Netball when it comes to its development as an elite netball league and competition.

The former Aussie Diamond is one of her country’s most decorated athletes and the announcement that she is swapping Australia for England sent the netball world into a spin last week.

After playing 15 domestic seasons in the southern hemisphere, Browne is well-placed to share her thoughts about the league that she’s leaving behind, and her new home in England.

It’s no secret that Suncorp Super Netball is a more established entity than the Vitality Netball Superleague, with a fully professional set-up for every one of its eight franchises.

However, England’s elite league is continuing to move forwards on its road to professionalism, with clubs bringing in strong financial backing, and seeking ventures and partnerships to enhance their offerings to players and fans.

Browne, who will fly over from Australia to England in the new year, doesn’t think that the Superleague is light years away from Suncorp Super Netball.

“I don’t think that it’s far off at all,” Browne said on the latest episode of Off The Court on Sky Sports.

“Obviously Leeds Rhinos Netball’s environment and what Dan Ryan has been able to start to do, with the high-performance environment and the access to facilities, showcases what Superleague could look like. I think that’s really great.

“Coming from Collingwood in Australia, a club that’s linked with a male code and has access to those other resources, it shows how to really make netball and a team, both a business and a sports commodity.

“I don’t think that the Superleague is far off at all and it’s great to have young players coming through with a fearless attitude,” she added. “They need to go out there, try different tricks, and learn as much as they can.

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“I’m going to be wearing the colours of Leeds Rhinos next season, but I’d really like to get out to a lot of different clubs and associations to be part of the wider netball community.

“I’d like to talk about my journey and have those players asking me anything and everything they want to… what does this take? What does it take to do that?”

After Browne’s move was revealed, many within the world of netball said that she is the league’s most recognised signing and that they hoped more would make the move from Australia to England. During Off The Court, Tamsin Greenway took the opportunity to ask Browne who she thought might follow her lead.

“Kelsey [Browne’s sister] knew about this decision when we were playing at Mapgies and we haven’t won a Premiership together,” the 32-year-old said.

“She said to give it a couple of years and then she might be joining me over here! I thought that sounded pretty good!

“So, I think maybe players like her [would enjoy it] and I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe, we got CBass [Caitlin Bassett] over in another year or two after New Zealand. You let me know who you want Tamsin, and I’ll see what I can do?!”

Browne’s request to Greenway was said with a big grin on her face. As well as being one of netball’s most decorated athletes, she’s also one of the most positive and energetic.

The mid-court player brings so much to the sport that she loves and at this point in her career, Browne still has a strong desire to compete on court.

Her competitive nature was shown through conversations she had with Ryan about which Vitality Roses were playing where, just so that she knows exactly who she is going to be testing herself against.

The fact that Browne has signed a two-year contract with Leeds Rhinos Netball means that she’s going to have ample time to raise the standards on the court and bring new ideas off it.

The injection of players like Browne and coaches like Ryan, who have elite experience from Australia, should assist the Superleague moving further down its pathway to professionalism.

The fresh perspectives that they bring will add to the quality of English coaches and players in the Superleague, and the amalgamation of that talent should help the competition to continue to grow and achieve its goals, which includes being trailblazers across women’s sport in England.

Of course, COVID-19 and the way in which that is impacting daily life, elite sport and businesses, is something that presents unwelcome challenges. However, the motivation from all involved in netball remains high and the desire to not lose what’s already been established remains stronger than ever.

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