Magpie loving coach's forward thinking
MIDCOURTER Shae Brown admits it was a move from left field, but says she is relishing the challenge of playing the team's pinch-hitting goal attack as the Magpies face a critical clash against her former side West Coast Fever on Friday night.
In the past two games, Magpies coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell has made the intriguing move of injecting Brown, normally at home in centre or wing defence, into the goal attack post alongside prolific goal scorer Caitlin Thwaites.
Brown was subbed into the game for former Thunderbird Cody Lange, who has emerged as the Magpies' favoured starting option at goal attack ahead of youngster Alice Teague-Neeld.
While the move does point the team's vulnerability in the goal attack post, Brown's athleticism and speed does bring another element to the goal circle for the Magpies - even if her shooting remains a work in progress.
"It was definitely a little bit left of field, that's for sure," Brown said of her goal attack call-up.
"I am happy to play any role that the team requires of me, whether that's being a leader from the bench or playing a role that I've never played on the court before.
"It's been enriching to be able to learn a whole new position and it's definitely adding to my game. I think in this day and age, it's really essential especially with only 10 players on the list.
"For me to be able to provide a little bit of movement in that position and to be like a fourth midcourter as well, they're the sort of things we thought of initially - and then I started having to learn how to shoot.
"I like to think of myself as a bit of the new Gretel Tippett, a bit raw but full of potential."
Brown and the Magpies have been working on her makeshift goal attack move over the past few weeks in training, but her background as a goaler beyond that is limited.
"I played at school when everyone thinks they're goal attack," Brown said.
"I also dabbled when I was in the Fast5 team a few years back. So, I've technically represented Australia in goal attack, but I think that five minutes doesn't really count."
After losing to cross-town rivals Melbourne Vixens last week, the Magpies head into Friday night's clash against the Fever with a 3-4 season record and still pushing to break into the top-four ahead of the Easter bye.
Brown, who will be one of three Magpies alongside April Brandley and Ash Brazill to line up against their former team, said the side needed to find some consistent winning form.
"It is absolutely critical that we get this win," Brown said.
"It has taken a lot longer than we initially thought for it all to come together, but it's definitely something that is a work in progress. To be honest, I would rather be hitting our straps at the right end of the season anyway as long as we don't leave it too late."
And Brown said providing more support for Thwaites, no matter which player was in the goal attack post, was crucial.
"Caitlin is doing a wealth of work at the moment, she definitely does need that support," Brown said. "It's definitely something that we have addressed as the three goal attacks in the team, Alice, Cody and myself we are really working together to be able to get the most out of each other and challenging each other to really step it up which we really need to do."