31 Oct 2020

Silver Ferns' coach happier after tough, traditional Test

9:19 am on 31 October 2020

Despite a closer scoreline, Silver Ferns' coach Dame Noeline Taurua was happier with her side's performance in beating England 54-47 in the second Test in Hamilton last night.

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua.

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

She also said the game felt like a more traditional Test.

"Which actually was quite enjoyable ...a real tough Test match and the toing and froing and seeing people under pressure at various times. I don't think it brought back good memories but that's what this is about," Dame Noeline said.

The Silver Ferns' coach wasn't happy after their 13 goal win over England in game one on Wednesday but last night's seven goal victory to seal the Taini Jamison trophy, left her feeling better.

"I think there were improvements. Still a bit of areas to go and I know where that is but overall I liked the hustle of both teams out there and also the feel of a real traditional Test match as well."

England forced the Silver Ferns into errors early on and the Roses took their opportunities, leading by two at half-time.

Dame Noeline made a number of changes throughout, particularly in the midcourt and the Ferns came out strong in the third quarter, scoring the first six goals.

Claire Kersten came on for Shannon Saunders at centre and Whitney Souness for Gina Crampton in wing attack and the Ferns' coach believes they added more speed.

"It's just finding the right chemistry out there on court but it's getting clearer as the days go on.

"I think the change up in the middle, not that the first combo was any worse I mean they had to weather the storm as well.

"It's always about what people bring when they do come out on court and at the moment we've got a lot of talent and uniqueness in what individuals bring so it's just about making sure that we use those people at certain times to make huge impact and push the performance forward."

Dame Noeline was pleased her side didn't turn over a lot of ball through bad skills, which is what she saw in the first Test.

"There were moments where we grinded it away, it may not have looked pretty ...but were still able to get the ball through the hoop and our shooting percentages were very high."

Maia Wilson was a rock for the Ferns scoring 38 from 41 at 92 percent.

Dame Noeline also gave kudos to England.

"I'm really impressed really I know everybody has spoken about players who are not here but the ones who are here whether it's us or English Roses should celebrate the product that we're putting out there on court."

Acting England head coach Kat Ratnapala said they knew the Silver Ferns would try to hit them hard.

"We'll take it and we'll move forward and we were prepared for anything to be hit at us today and I think that's what they tried to do and I was really pleased with how we adapted and how we faced that head on," Ratnapala said.

"There was a few changes with just some naive mistakes that were coming in and seeing that falling into some New Zealand defensive traps so I think some naivety there. But also we are second game in from a seven month break so I think there were some fitness elements into there as well and just the mental challenge of being able to be sustainable throughout that game."

England co-captain Laura Malcolm, who was MVP despite being on the losing side, said while there were a few lapses they were getting closer to a 60 minute performance.

"So when we were flying it felt really clear and really simple and I guess it is just maintaining that in the critical moments."

"It's about being disciplined ...every single moment you have to grind, you have to be disciplined with what you're doing and I think it's just staying focussed and staying in that mindset throughout," Malcolm said.

Serena Guthrie brought up her 100th Test last night but hobbled off the court in the third quarter.

Ratnapala said it looked like a rolled ankle and they hoped she would be okay for Sunday's final Test.

She said Guthrie had been a massive asset to England netball over her career.

"She's been a huge role model, a fantastic ambassador for our game. She obviously came over and played here as well as Australia and has now come back in to England. She's done so much for the game, she's an amazing athlete, she's an amazing friend and person as well so yeah she means a huge amount to us."