Michael Burgess

Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Netball: Taurua ponders coaching future

Noeline Taurua says she couldn't be involved with the Magic and Silver Ferns at the same time. Photo / Hannah Johnston
Noeline Taurua says she couldn't be involved with the Magic and Silver Ferns at the same time. Photo / Hannah Johnston

Noeline Taurua's future as Magic coach is up in the air and her decision will have major ramifications for the franchise heading into the 2013 season and beyond.

Taurua's decision is expected this week and, while it would be a shock if she elected to put down the clipboard, it can't completely be ruled out.

After winning the ANZ Championship in such glorious fashion last week, there may be a sense of finished business for Taurua, who has been with the Magic for a decade.

"Just coming back to win it twice in a row is not enough," Taurua told the Herald on Sunday. "For me, it is about making sure I can develop the players. I've had some of them for so long, it's about how you can improve their game. Some of them - like Laura [Langman] - have grown so much this season, there is very little that I could do to them at this stage."

She admits that finally snaring the title has given the future a vastly different complexion.

"Every year, we start the season with a clear list of 'work-ons' across the campaign," says Taurua, "but this time, halfway through the season, we had got through a lot of them. Lifting that trophy was the last thing on our list. It adds a different light to the situation.

"I need to ask - what else have I got? What else can I offer and am I the right person to do it?"

The Waikato-Bay of Plenty franchise is sweating on her call. Marquee players such as Langman and Casey Williams have been under Taurua's wing since they were 16 and, together with Irene van Dyk, are incredibly loyal to her. They love the environment she creates but their heads could be turned if she was no longer at the helm.

"She is the backbone of the Magic," says captain Langman. "She is unique in how she approaches campaigns and the way she evolves and reinvents herself. I think that shows when you have players like myself, Casey and Irene who have been with her for the best part of 10 years."

"No season has been the same," adds Langman. "That is a huge credit to Noels but it is not easy. She is very good at taking you as a player to places you have never gone and extending your repertoire and your way of thinking. Certainly, for me, I like the challenges that she presents me as a player, so it would be massive if she decided to come back."

Taurua also has to consider her international ambitions. She was assistant New Zealand coach last season for a period - with glowing feedback from the Ferns, who were said to enjoy a new voice - and will be assistant again for Wai Taumaunu during September's Constellation Cup series against the Australians.

Netball New Zealand are conducting their version of Assistant Coach Idol in 2012 but will appoint a permanent assistant coach next year, on a two-year term through to the end of the 2014 Commonwealth Games campaign.

Taurua is adamant that the roles are mutually exclusive and that she couldn't do justice to both at once.

"If you are involved with the Ferns, you probably couldn't do ANZ," says Taurua. "It depends what is required but generally there is too much overlap in terms of planning and commitment."

If Taurua was to leave the Magic, it wouldn't be for another New Zealand franchise. She says the only way she would find herself with another ANZ Championship team would be across the Tasman, or after an extended break from coaching.

"I'm a Magic girl through and through," says Taurua. "I would find it too hard to be somewhere else, unless I went away and came back."

Taurua is the most successful coach in ANZ Championship history, with 54 wins in 78 games (a 69.2 per cent win rate) and the only one to take her team to every finals series.

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 21 Dec 2014 11:34:24 Processing Time: 504ms