Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: Noeline Taurua in demand around the world

Noeline Taurua may have the last laugh after her excellent coaching performances with the Southern Steel. Photo / Getty Images
Noeline Taurua may have the last laugh after her excellent coaching performances with the Southern Steel. Photo / Getty Images

Noeline Taurua, unwanted as Silver Ferns coach, is fielding job offers from Australia and England after masterminding the Southern Steel's remarkable turnaround in the ANZ Championship.

Taurua, who failed to make the shortlist for the Silver Ferns coaching job last year, has reignited her career in the deep south, taking the Steel to the transtasman league minor premiership.

Rated as outsiders to even make the top three in the New Zealand conference this year, the Steel charged through the season unbeaten to top even their Australian rivals in the points tally - albeit under a system that favours the Kiwi teams.

Taurua, who only joined the Steel late in the off-season after former coach Janine Southby was promoted to the Ferns' top job, has been credited as a large part of the Steel's change in form, bringing a stronger mental resolve to the team.

As the Steel approach their first ANZ Championship semifinals since 2010, there are plenty of maneouvrings going on behind the scenes as franchises here and across the Tasman prepare for life after the transtasman league.

After nine seasons the competition will be disestablished at the end of this year, with New Zealand and Australia to form stand-alone domestic competitions. Across the two competitions there will be four new franchises established, and the race is on to secure not only top playing talent, but coaching brains as well.

Taurua, the only coach to lead a New Zealand side to an ANZ Championship title, has found herself a key target from rival clubs, confirming to the Herald she has been shoulder-tapped for several roles.

But Taurua insists she will not entertain any offers until the job is done with the Steel.

"What's happening at the moment is you have a lot of countries that are looking at their structures and the timing of everything is overlapping," she said. "I've had a lot of options present themselves from not only Australia, but England and within other New Zealand franchises as well. But I'm focused and I'm committed to this competition - we want to win and I just want to put all my energy into that.

"When you go into talks or negotiations it can take you away from what you are supposed to be doing in the first place."

Taurua said the Steel has reinvigorated her coaching career and she has not ruled out leading the side into the new era.

"As to what I do or what I decide, it's not just about where I am, it's about the family and my own learning and my own growth so I usually need to sit down at the end and have a big think about it. That's why the timing right now is not appropriate."

Taurua's success with the Steel and high demand overseas looms as a potential embarrassment for Netball New Zealand. Southby, who had an underwhelming record with the Invercargill-based Steel before taking on the Ferns role, is now under huge pressure to get immediate results for the national side.

The Central Pulse have parted ways with Tanya Dearns after one season, appointing Silver Ferns assistant coach Yvette McCausland-Durie to lead the Wellington-based side in 2017. McCausland-Durie previously coached the franchise from 2009-2011. The Pulse finished last in the New Zealand conference this year, with their campaign dogged by bad luck and rumours of a rift in the camp.

- NZ Herald

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