Noeline Taurua returning to netball roots as Sunshine Coast Lightning travel to the deep south

ANZ Premiership champions the Southern Steel are preparing to take on Australia's top netball club, in a clash of the trans-Tasman titans.

The Steel will play the Southern Coast Lightning - Australia's Super League champions - in a two game series in the south.

The teams struck up a "sister club" relationship last year, after the old trans-Tasman competition was replaced by domestic leagues in New Zealand and Australia.

"So last year we went and played the Sunshine Coast Lightning over there", says Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham.

"It was their first ever hitout in their new stadium, and now they're reciprocating and coming to visit us this year."

Former Steel coach Noeline Taurua now heads up the Lightning.  She says the switch to an eight-team domestic league has broadened Australia's player base, and has proven more popular with viewers.

Back here, Bloxham says it's been a slower adjustment for Kiwi teams.

"We're sort of trying to find our feet again and finding out how we play," she said.

"But I think the nice challenge for us is having to play these Aussie teams again. I think it's always really important that we're still being competitive and keeping up with play."

Teams previously had to deal with more travel, along with switching between the New Zealand and Australian styles of match play.

"The Lighting are a very physical side and do a lot of running, whereas we are quite spatial", says Bloxham.

"So in the last week we've had to think about how these Aussies are going to come over and play, and how we're going to adapt to that."

Bloxham was assistant coach at the Steel when Taurua was in charge of the southern franchise in 2016.

But her former mentor is looking forward to showcasing the adopted Aussie style of netball in the pre-season series.

"Obviously I've got the background of knowing the New Zealand style", admits Taurua.  "And more than likely what might happen when we play up against the Steel tonight".

The two teams face off at Dunedin's Edgar Centre tonight, before a replay on Friday night at Stadium Southland in Invercargill.