28 Aug 2018

Taurua's time has finally come

2:24 pm on 28 August 2018

Sportscall - Netball New Zealand is about to bite the bullet and finally appoint Noeline Taurua as the Silver Ferns coach.

Noeline Taurua celebrates her second straight win in the Australian domestic competition with the Sunshine Lightning.

Noeline Taurua celebrates her second straight win in the Australian domestic competition with the Sunshine Lightning. Photo: Photosport

When you think of the game of netball and a coach to lead any team to success you can't help but think of Noeline Taurua and, it appears, Netball New Zealand are now tuned in.

Fresh after achieving a second consecutive Australian domestic title with the Sunshine Coach Lightning, the sport's worst kept secret will soon be officially revealed and Taurua will be announced as the 11th Silver Ferns coach.

But before we issue congratulations, let's address the elephant in the room: the fact that no other coach has had to jump through as many hoops as Taurua to get the top job.

Before assisting former national coach Waimarama Taumaunu to New Zealand's only Constellation Cup title in 2012, she became the only New Zealand coach to clinch a trans-Tasman title with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

After not being considered to take the helm in 2015, Taurua single-handedly built the Australian Sunshine Coast Lightning club from the ground up, which led to a title in its inaugural year. The work put into in recruiting and building a solid foundation would leave any coach, of any code, speechless.

Taurua signed top players to lead every third of the court.

In the midcourt Silver Fern Laura Langman, England international Geva Mentor in defence and Australian international Caitlin Bassett at goal shoot.

The result gained plenty of respect from Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander.

The respect on this side of the ditch though has taken a while to come.

In a conversation I had with Taurua in April this year she didn't deny wanting to coach the Silver Ferns with her intentions to always return to New Zealand, even suggesting taking up a CEO role.

What Taurua did make clear though was from her learnings at the Lightning a return home at a netball capacity would have to consist on a rebuild and these are changes we are witnessing with the recall of Langman and Casey Kopua.

"You are only as good as what's underneath you and in anything that you're doing as a coach it's about succession planning," she said.

"Otherwise you'll find your top level is gone or aren't at the level they need to be at and there's nothing else left underneath them."

Her time outside New Zealand certainly leaves a painful 'what if?' question on what would have happened if she'd been appointed when Taumanu departed.

Taurua will lead the Silver Ferns in the upcoming Netball Quad series and ultimately the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool and while it's a win for NNZ it's an even bigger one for the coach.

Order and mana will be restored to the black dress and it's the ultimate case of 'I told you so.'

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