Kelsey Browne sought minimal advice from her famous older sister before unleashing a memorable netball Test debut for Australia.
Years of clearing high hurdles, both on and off the court, paid dividends for midcourter Browne, whose second-half cameo against South Africa proved influential in their 61-44 win in the Quad Series opener in Auckland.
The lively 1.64m wing attack found the key to unlocking a stubborn Proteas defence after Australia had forged a tense four-goal lead at halftime.
Linking brilliantly with Sunshine Coast Lightning teammates Caitlin Bassett and Stephanie Wood in the shooting circle, Browne continued her emergence from the long shadow that has been cast over her career by accomplished sister Madi Robinson.
Sixty-one Test veteran Robinson was wing attack in Australia’s previous outing, the Commonwealth Games final loss to England in April.
Browne’s compelling first Test foray suggests she is capable of filling the shoes of her sibling, who retired internationally in July.
However, Browne revealed she deliberately didn’t ask Robinson about life as a Diamond before joining the camp.
“I said to her I want to have my own journey in the Aussie dress and I don’t want to go in with any preconceived ideas,” Browne told AAP.
“She let me do my own thing. Obviously our experiences are going to be very different. We’re different people.
“She said ‘good luck’ and she’s very proud of me. It was nice coming from big sister.”
Browne’s journey has been more strenuous than most.
Diagnosed with depression in her late teens, she has spoken publicly about the effect the condition has held on her and its pervasive impact on her motivation.
The 26-year-old took much longer than her sister to earn netball recognition.
A career-defining decision came last year when she left the Melbourne Vixens to join a Lightning team that has gone on to clinch twin Super Netball crowns.
“It forced me to get out of my comfort zone. I was next to some amazing players up there who helped me with my game and I’ve been able to add a lot of tools to my box,” Browne said.
“Playing for Australia means a lot to me. It’s been a tough journey to get here.
“I’m proud of what Madi’s done before me but it’s exciting to be here in my own right.”
Browne’s performance sets up a selection duel with Liz Watson for the starting berth in Wednesday’s crunch fixture against England.
The Roses overwhelmed New Zealand 52-39 in the second match of a double-header on Saturday, setting up the clash in Newcastle as a virtual Quad Series decider.