18 Dec 2019

Folau unlikely to go into coaching

6:18 am on 18 December 2019

Retiring Silver Fern Maria Folau is unlikely to step straight into coaching despite the encouragement of one of New Zealand's best coaches.

Silver Ferns Maria Folau - Constellation Cup Game 2, between the NZ Silver Ferns v Australian Diamonds, held at Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand.  16 October 2019       Photo: Brett Phibbs / www.photosport.nz

Maria Folau Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

Folau has ended her netball career after 14 years at the top.

The star shooter won a Netball World Cup, two Commonwealth Games gold medals and three Fast5 Netball World Series tournaments since coming onto the scene as an 18-year-old.

Former Silver Ferns coach and High Performance Sport New Zealand director Waimarama Taumaunu said despite Folau's prowess in front of goal, she was more than just a goalshooter.

"She's a phenomenal shooter and it's one of the joys of the game watching her slot long balls and I think what gets forgotten a little bit is the courage it takes to do that," Taumaunu said.

"That's a really rare skill, one that we won't see again too often in our lifetimes.

"But also she actually had some really sound fundamental skills she's a good passer, good reader of the game, that often got forgotten in watching her shoot."

Taumaunu had enjoyed coaching Folau and said the 150 Test veteran was still prepared to get better despite being one of the best.

"She was always keen to improve and that was interesting because as an older player sometimes that does dissipate, but Maria was always looking for ways to improve and she was very mindful of the contribution she made both on and off the court."

Taumaunu would like to see Folau continue to have an impact off the court in New Zealand netball.

"I think her knowledge and the way she shot and how she prepared herself I'm really hopeful that she'd be able to pass that on because that is something really quite unique to her," she said.

But Folau is putting family first.

Folau's manager David Steel has been working with her for eight years and said Folau had tried to retire from the game earlier, but Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua "is a pretty convincing character".

"Noeline is an amazing coach, amazing person, and she managed to convince Maria to keep playing," Steel said.

Steel said now that his client was married to Israel Folau and would "love to have a family", she would not be rushing to take her next step in netball.

"She just doesn't rate herself, so if someone asked her to get involved she'd be shocked and think why ask me, what've I got to offer," Steel said.

"But she'd always want to do the best for New Zealand Netball so if that meant being involved I'm sure she could be convinced, but certainly at this stage no plans whatsoever."

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