Full steam ahead for Taurua at Netball Quad Series
In a challenging first-up assignment, the Silver Ferns will step into a new era when they meet the England Roses in their Netball Quad Series opener in Auckland on Saturday.
Appointed new coach just last week and with a new-look team, there is much anticipation surrounding Noeline Taurua’s entry at international level and with it reviving the Silver Ferns flagging fortunes.
“We’ve got to start from somewhere and it just happens to be that our first game’s against England which, personally, I am absolutely excited by,” Taurua said.
“They’re Commonwealth Games gold medallists, so what an amazing way to start our campaign, against the best.
“This is our opportunity to put out a better performance than our last showing which was the Commonwealth Games. We’re only as good as our last outing, so we need to perform and we need to be better than what that was.”
An experienced England pipped favourites Australia to win their first Commonwealth Games title while the Silver Ferns were consigned to a fourth-place finish during the tournament in April.
The hugely respected and popular Taurua has had to hit the ground running, only formally getting together with her team for the first time earlier this week and formulating her plans for the international season ahead.
“It’s all pretty full-on but we’re getting through it. We’re not going to save the world by Saturday but we’ll give it a good crack.
“The time frame is very limited but we have made a start and so far, the intention has been really good. I’m really happy with where the team is mentally and I’m very happy with the mix of players that we have. The players are working very, very hard both on and off court so I couldn’t be happier.”
For the Netball Quad Series and the Constellation Cup to follow, Taurua’s objectives are to provide opportunities for everybody to get out on court.
“We’ve got to be able to test and assess players in real time,” she said.
“We do have a game plan for Saturday and firstly, we’ve got to get the understanding of what those strategies are. So, we’re starting not necessarily at ground zero but we’re building a base. By the time we play NZA on Thursday, we will have a good gauge.
“We’re also looking at our protocols, our routines and practises off-court, so making sure they’re effective and efficient.”
While the other participants in the series, England Roses, the Australian Diamonds and SPAR Proteas also haven’t played since the Commonwealth Games, it is a slightly different scenario for the Silver Ferns with a new coach at the helm.
“We’re still finding our way but there’s no better way than just getting in there and getting going,” Taurua said.
“We need to get things going to see where we are realistically and determine what needs to happen the next time we take the court.
“There are different variables when coaching at this level and it won’t be like other environments that I’ve been in. It’s not until I take this first test that I’ll know what that’s all about but I’m looking forward to experiencing the feeling of coaching at international level.”