4 Mar 2021

Dame Noeline says recurring themes hampering Silver Ferns

11:24 am on 4 March 2021

Silver Ferns' coach Dame Noeline Taurua says her side need to make a mental shift if they want to beat Australia on a regular basis.

Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua.

Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua. Photo: Photosport

The Diamonds levelled the Constellation Cup series with an impressive 45-36 win over Silver Ferns in Christchurch last night.

The visitors fired out of the blocks, leading 8-1 early on and finished the first quarter with a 15-6 advantage.

Dame Noeline told RNZs Morning Report the start was "gut-wrenching".

"We did turnover a lot of ball at the start whether through just bad passes or dropped balls that put us on the back foot. And within four or five minutes we were already five or six down," Dame Noeline said.

"And as we know and it's something that we have talked about when we are on the back foot we actually mentally don't go into good spaces so it's just a reoccurrence of the same theme basically."

Dame Noeline was pleased they were able to fight back in the second half after trailing by as many as 15 goals.

"There were moments when I thought we were on for a 20 point drumming and once we get the feel of it and calm down then we're able to reconnect again."

But the Silver Ferns' coach said her side have some mental hangovers they need to overcome.

"We do have reoccurring themes that do happen with us. I think it is a mental shift that we are struggling with at the moment. But it also puts the emphasis that we have to start well. And synonymous with past experiences when we do win the first quarter we actually are able to take it through so we've still got a lot of work to do.

"Consistent performance is something that has eluded us and has continued with last night's demonstration and something that we've just go to keep continuing to solve."

Monica Falkner struggled in her first start at the international level and was replaced by Bailey Mes at goal attack after the first quarter.

Dame Noeline admits they sorely missed captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio, who was rested for the game as a result of a calf issue.

"Especially in that position of goal attack as well which is quite a crucial position in regards to the length and obviously her ability to put the shot through the hoop.

"I suppose there is positives out of it is that others did get the opportunity to get out on court and probably shows more work that needs to be done but also shows the value of Ameliaranne to the Silver Ferns as well and her leadership."

Ekenasio is expected to be back for the next two Tests.

One of the priorities for the Ferns' over the next two days will be a focus on getting the ball into their shooters.

"Because they are quite tall [in the midcourt] as well, we are quite short in stature, still dynamic and very fit in our midcourt. But if we get caught stationary we get outmuscled and can't see and that means our preparation prior to one person getting the ball needs to be on point and keep moving.

"It's quite clear as to what we've got to do and we have to focus on key elements over the next couple of days so that we can execute. It sounds really simple ...but our ability to be able to deliver on the time under pressure is eluding us at this stage."