Vitality Netball Superleague: Madi Browne's Leeds Rhinos Netball contract deferred until 2022 season
The former Australian Diamond is still recovering from knee surgery she had last year and given the continuous challenges caused by the impact of COVID-19, the decision was made for her arrival to the UK to be delayed
Last Updated: 03/02/21 6:22pm
Leeds Rhinos Netball and Madi Browne have announced their decision to defer the Australian's playing contract until the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague season.
The former Australian Diamond is still recovering from the knee surgery she had last year and while progressing steadily in her rehabilitation, was unlikely to be cleared to play before April, at the earliest.
Alongside the uncertainty and continuous challenges caused by the impact of Covid-19, the decision was made in the best interest of both parties to delay the midcourter's arrival into the UK.
"We are all gutted that Madi won't be joining us in Leeds for this season, but considering the current landscape and priorities here, we all understand that athlete welfare and safety comes first," Dan Ryan, Leeds Rhinos Netball head coach said.
"Madi was in a bit of a race against time to be fit for the season and considering the state of the pandemic in the UK, we all agreed it was in her best interest to stay at home and focus on her rehab without any time pressure or added stress.
"While she won't physically be here this season, she's so eager to stay connected with the team and do whatever she can to support from afar and I'm sure she'll continue to have a huge impact on the group."
The delay in Browne's contract starting is aimed at giving her the adequate time to fully recover from her injury, with the plan for her to join the Rhinos later this year, in preparation for the 2022 season.
"It's definitely disappointing as all I wanted to do was be there for the beginning of this programme with this great group of people," Browne said.
"I want nothing more than this club to succeed and whatever is right for the team, I am all on board for. I will continually be there to support my Rhinos in whatever capacity I can this upcoming season."
"We feel that there were a number of factors which make this a sensible decision for both parties, particularly from a welfare point of view." Dan Busfield, franchise director for Leeds Rhinos Netball added.
"During all our communication it has been evident that not only is Madi a legend of the game, but a great person who fits right into the culture and ethos of Leeds Rhinos.
"Madi will continue to be part of the team and wider club and we look forward to her joining up with us later this year."
Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague returns on February 12 with a 10-match weekend of netball. Every contest will be available to watch across Sky Sports, the Sky Sports YouTube channel or England Netball's YouTube channel.