5 Sep 2023

Silver Ferns coach wants trans-Tasman exposure

10:23 am on 5 September 2023
Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua at the 2023 Netball World Cup © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix/ www.photosport.nz

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua Photo: BackPage / www.photosport.nz

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua would like to see New Zealand players get competition against teams in Australia's netball league, sooner rather than later.

Netball New Zealand has been involved in discussions with Netball Australia about introducing cross-over games at the end of the respective domestic competitions.

In 2016 the 10-team trans-Tasman ANZ Championship was scrapped when Australia and New Zealand decided to go their own ways to set up their own domestic competitions.

But Dame Noeline said there was a gap between New Zealand and Australia, which needed addressing.

"I've been talking about that for a few years and knowing that that is a gap in our current system and knowing when the time is right for that relationship to happen.

"From a Silver Ferns point of view, [bridging] that gap is massive for us. I think that's why it was so good having the old ANZ where you did get the crossover so the New Zealand players knew what it was like to play world class players week in week out.

"The ability to be able to handle that pressure so if we can get something like that up really soon I'll be elated," Dame Noeline said.

The Australian Diamonds won their 12th World Cup title in South Africa last month and the Silver Ferns' coach said fierce competition within Australia served them well.

Dame Noeline coached the Sunshine Coast Lightning for three years in the Australian Super Netball competition.

"I learnt that when I was over there ...if you don't compete or you are unable to produce the goods then another person is willing to come in and be as good as the person who left so there is definitely competition there."

New Zealand's ANZ premiership competition is locked in until the end of 2024 season with any new competition only able to begin from 2025.

Coach Noeline Taurua celebrating 2nd consecutive Australian domestic title win

Coach Noeline Taurua celebrating a second consecutive Australian domestic title win in 2018. Photo: DCimages | Daniel Carson

Six weeks on from finishing fourth at the Netball World Cup, Dame Noeline said they were still digesting a disappointing campaign.

"And it probably will still sit in the stomach for a few years.

"We're still going through the review process so hopefully we'll be able to get a clear indicator as to what the themes are."

Dame Noeline, who is yet to decide if she wants to stay on once her contract comes up at the end of next month, said she had gone through her own review process, like everyone else in the management team.

Last week players gathered in Auckland for some promotional duties for the upcoming series.

"We were able also as a group to reflect on Netball World Cup and on the things that we need to do, which was very open, brutal to some respect but quite cleansing for all of us and then identify what those areas are that we need to improve and then move on for these next series."

The Silver Ferns coach said there were clearly some on court strategies that needed to be better.

"We were five or six points away from England and Jamaica without even playing Australia and coughed up ball especially when we were under pressure.

"Taking the ball from one end of the court to the other is definitely a work on and other things I think that we can do in regards to our systems to improve."

Silver Ferns selectors have named teams for this month's series against England and Australia in October.

Shooting depth seems to be a constant work on for New Zealand netball.

Maia Wilson of New Zealand Silver Ferns during the Netball World Cup match between Jamaica and New Zealand at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa on Thursday, 03 August 2023

Photo: Mandatory credit: Christiaan Kotze/C&C Photo Agency

The Silver Ferns lost the bronze medal match to Jamaica at the Netball World Cup. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/C&C Photo Agency

That showed when the side lost starting goal shoot Grace Nweke with a knee injury early on at the Netball World Cup.

"I think with Amelia [Walmsley] coming into the mix that's quite exciting knowing that she's still only 19 and still has the Under 21s to go, gives us more firepower.

"Also even Amorangi [Malesala] who is a long range specialist so there are other people who are in our mix but still need experience in the ANZ, so we still know we've got a lot of work to do in that shooting end to produce volume shooters and world class shooters."

Like many involved in the sport, the Silver Ferns coach has concerns about growing competition from other codes.

The recent Netball World Cup had to compete for media coverage with the FIFA Women's World Cup juggernaut.

"When you look at those codes like football they're usually male dominated and with those codes comes a lot of money and something that we find difficult or won't be able to contemplate the kind of financial support that they are getting.

"We've had it really good for so long with regards to being the number one domestic sport in the Commonwealth countries but that's why we can't take it for granted.

"We must be able to keep the integrity of the sport ...hence probably why England's decision to send the team they are for Taini Jamison is not good for the global position of netball."

Dame Noeline said the sport had a lot of work to do.

"We've got to look at different ways of how we entertain, umpiring resources, there's a whole raft of things, everyone has a role in that and we need to get ahead of everything with World Netball leading that."