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

Netball: Coaching dream eludes Taurua

Netball Coach Noeline Taurua. Photo / Christine Cornege
Netball Coach Noeline Taurua. Photo / Christine Cornege

Noeline Taurua is resigned to the fact she may never coach the Silver Ferns.

Taurua has unquestionably the best domestic record in this country, but was overlooked for the top job last year, not even making Netball New Zealand's shortlist for the Ferns role.

That decision, bemusing at the time, was made to look even more baffling after Taurua's feats with the Steel this year, as they assembled the best regular season record in the ANZ Championship.

Taurua's side host the Magic in the New Zealand Conference final today and a win will see the Steel hold on to home advantage for the semifinals next week.

Her achievements this season have dulled the pain of missing out on the national role, which has been an ambition since she started coaching in the National Bank Cup in the early 2000s.

Taurua still holds on to that dream but admits it may never happen.

"I don't know if it is possible," she said. "It's certainly out of my realm of thinking. I've taken a different route, given my all, and it's been a wonderful experience with the Steel. That's all I am focused on now."

During the recruitment process last year - led by outgoing NNZ high performance director Steve Lancaster - Taurua was expected to be a top contender but didn't make the final two.

"The feedback I had was that they questioned my capability in setting up systems," said Taurua. "They had a direction and they either believe you can deliver that plan or you can't.

"It feels like people fit the box or they don't. It is a bit sad. You should be able to look above the personalities and differences and you need to have different people. But I guess the proof will be in the pudding."

This ANZ Championship season has added more lustre to Taurua's CV as she has taken a solid Steel outfit and made them significantly better.

"We haven't been in this place before and I've got huge respect for the Magic and their winning culture," said Taurua. "But we are focused on taking all the opportunities and the positives, and not put pressure on ourselves. We need to enjoy the moment."

The 2016 edition of the Steel are a more well-rounded team. Shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid is still the focal point, but there are other options aside from the towering Jamaican.

"I think that has been the downfall in previous years, especially in the big games," said Taurua. "There has been an over-reliance on her and, when other teams took her out of the equation, [the Steel] wasn't used to it and more pressure was put on the other players."

- Herald on Sunday

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