19 Jan 2019

Silver Ferns: Time to walk the talk

9:12 am on 19 January 2019

Training intensity has increased, strategy is in place and players have been addressed - now coach Noeline Taurua says it's time to work.

Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman

Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman Photo: © Actionplus 2018

Silver Ferns head coach Noeline Taurua believes everything has been done to prepare her side to face world champions Australia on Sunday morning in game two of the Northern Quad Series.

With two training sessions a day which include on-court drills and gym sessions as well as a practice match against England A - no stone has been left unturned in London after last week's 54 to 41 loss to England.

All Taurua needs now is for her players to come to the party.

"The main boulders we are facing is the ability to execute, consistency and sustaining the intensity because when we go walk about we lose possession of the ball," says Taurua

"Quite fast we can be down by four to six points and that's usually by error of individuals and quite costly."

"It's now about our ability to execute and deliver on the words that we talk about and that seems to be taking us a wee bit of time to do," says Taurua

It's not all doom and gloom though.

As the search for ideal combinations continue, Taurua has at least "found her base" in her three veterans Casey Kopua, Laura Langman and Maria Folau.

Defender Casey Kopua. You can't fast track game smarts and that's what Kopua brings Taurua in defence.

With Australian captain Caitlin Bassett out with injury Kopua can capitalise on rebounds with the freedom to hunt down her attacker before striking the ball without having to worry about height.

Kopua is finding her feet slowly but Taurua has brought her back for a reason - doing what she does best leading from the back.

"I was really happy with what Casey was able to put out there especially coming back from injury and hadn't been on court since May 2018," says Taurua

Midcourter Laura Langman. Wing defence is the most underrated position on any netball court because setting up defenders to turn the ball over in the back is a thankless task.

Taurua has signalled that Langman may switch to centre this weekend if it isn't working, no matter which position though guiding her fellow 'middies' and disrupting flow of ball into opposing shooters is her specialty and what needs to occur.

"To have her in there strengthens that defensive unit and provides stability... I wouldn't rule her out of centre, but I do have Kimiora (Poi) and Sam (Sinclair) as options," says Taurua

Silver Ferns shooter Maria Folau

Silver Ferns shooter Maria Folau Photo: All Rights Reserved

Goal shooter Maria Folau. Under Taurua Folau has been an unstoppable force of accuracy slipping twice from eight outtings to under 80 percent.

Folau's confidence on the shot from anywhere in the circle can lift spirits on court and Taurua wants to build on that strength with Ameliaranne Ekenasio as her understudy to create the ultimate mobile duo, volume of ball is key here.

Rising wing attack Whitney Souness has put her hand up as a worthy candidate here. After serving 37 minutes she emerged as the sides top ball receiver and feeder (watch this space).

"When they had ball in hand their shooting percentages were high against England... we'll have to see if Maia (Wilson) will get on court but it will be great to build on Ameliaranne and the combination with Maria," says Taurua.

Taurua admits that while they strive to put structures in place, after only five months as coach they aren't yet strong enough to rely on and most of planning is based on what their opponents will bring.

"We do more analysis on the opposition, we're not really at a stage where our own strategy is strong enough or the consistency in the type of game we want to play," says Taurua

"Analysis here has been minimal not to the level we would normally do it and because of that the focus is trying to get our performance better."

"With Bassett not there, the only probable bonus is Australia missing that height but in saying that her replacement (Kiera Austin) is very fast."

"With Australia just because one is not there though doesn't dilute what they can actually do."