Midcourter relishes remarkable rise to Australian team
NETBALL: Midcourter Kelsey Browne has continued her remarkable rise with selection in the Australian team, an honour which seemed so distant to her just a couple of seasons ago.
The 26-year-old was included in a 12-strong outfit for the Quad Series and Constellation Cup, following impressive displays for the Sunshine Coast in the national league.
It's been a whirlwind ride for the Victorian product, who has emerged as a star of the game in the past two years, since linking with the Lightning.
She's won back-to-back Super Netball premierships and has now earned Diamonds selection.
"If you had told me this (would happen) two years ago I wouldn't have believed you," she said.
"Where I was with my netball then is a very different spot to where I am now.
"It's been a lot of hard work. Blood, sweat and tears have gone into the past two years and I've been surrounded by some amazing people.
"Being under Noeline (Taurua) as a coach, I feel I've just flourished up here (on the Sunshine Coast) and it's been a really exciting time for me."
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said the zippy wing attack was a "prime example" of a player who had proved herself in the national league.
"We had our eye on her and it was extremely exciting to see her flourish during the SSN finals series," she said in a Netball Australia press release.
"It will be a quick learning curve when she gets into camp but we believe she is ready to make the step up and have an impact for the Diamonds."
Browne joined the Lightning prior to 2017 after getting limited game time at the Melbourne Vixens and she quickly established herself as a regular at the new team.
"Noeline gave me a starting seven position and allowed me to spend more time on court and I don't think you can under-value how important it is to be out there playing, so you can learn from every game," she said.
"She helped me work on my game but also I have been getting consistency, regardless of who I come up against.
"I think in seasons before I was hot and cold but in the last two years I've been able to build some consistent performances ... and that's been massive for me.
"I've also done a lot of video analysis in my game preparation and that's helped as well."
Browne's also learned from some of the best players in the business at the Sunshine Coast, including Australian representatives Caitlin Bassett and Stephanie Wood.
"I think being in that environment with the players around, it's hard not to get better," she said.
"You are constantly trying to soak up everything the others are saying ... for me to be around C-Bass and Steph in that attack end and have them help me with my game has been massive."
Now, she's looking forward to spending time around more Diamonds players.
"I'm going to enjoy every moment of the next two months, just being in that environment."
The upcoming series also represents her chance to press her claims for a spot in the squad for the World Cup in England next year.
"I feel like it's a nice time for me to come into the team," she said.
"I'd love to go out there and play some really good netball and put my hand up for World Cup but I will deal with it as it comes.
"I'll go into camp and see how I go with the girls and make some new friends. I'm excited to be amongst that calibre of players."
Browne got the call-up from Australian head coach Lisa Alexander on Tuesday, two days after winning this year's Super Netball grand final.
But she initially missed her phone call.
"I was thinking ... how did I not answer that?"
"I called her back and she gave me the good news, so it wasn't that smooth, but that's okay."
The team was officially announced on Friday.
Geva Mentor, who has captained the Lightning to their success and was key to England's Commonwealth Games triumph, was with Browne when she was on the phone.
"She was over at my house and with me for the call and when I burst into tears," Browne said.
"She didn't know if it was good or bad news ... she was asking why I was crying so much and I couldn't really tell her but it was good to have her there, even though she didn't know what was going on."
Browne is set to follow in the footsteps of her sister Madison, who played for Australia, and it was a special moment for her to tell her family about her selection.
"I was allowed to tell them on Tuesday and I told my mum and dad and sister and they were all over the moon for me.
"Madi's been a massive support for me in my netball and it's really nice to have someone who understands it.
"And as I go through this process, getting welcomed into the Aussie Diamonds squad, it's cool to have someone there who has done it before and knows how it operates, so I feel like I'm very lucky to have that."
While she has relished her time at the Lightning, Browne is yet to announce her plans for next season.
"I still haven't made my decision," she said on Friday.
"It's been a massive six days. I think winning the premierships was huge for us and it does pose a really big question as to where I'm going to be but I've still got that decision to make.
"I really want to enjoy this moment because it's not every day you get announced in a Diamonds team to contest those series so I want to soak that up and hopefully next week I can make my decision."