Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: Noeline Taurua to coach new Australian side

Noeline Taurua. Photo / Christine Cornege
Noeline Taurua. Photo / Christine Cornege

Noeline Taurua, snubbed for the Silver Ferns coaching role last year, has been scooped up by the new Sunshine Coast netball franchise that will compete in next year's Australian league.

Taurua will depart from her post at the helm of the Southern Steel to take up the position as coach of Sunshine Coast's first national elite-level sporting team - a team that is being backed by Melbourne Storm and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

The team, whose name is yet to be revealed, will compete in Australia's new elite netball competition from 2017.

The move follows a rollercoaster past year for Taurua, who was overlooked for the Ferns coaching job, failing to even make the short list. She then took over from Janine Southby, the successful candidate for the national team, at the Southern Steel where she claimed the minor premiership in her first season with an unbeaten record in the regular season.

Her immediate success with the Steel saw Taurua fielding offers from around the world with the split of the transtasman league opening up several new coaching opportunities in Australasia, while England Netball are also in expansion mode with their national league.

Taurua said the opportunity to start a new team from scratch and establish her own systems was a huge drawcard for the Sunshine Coast team.

"Having been involved in the ANZ Championship for nine years, the time was ripe for change and a new challenge," said Taurua, who has signed a two-year deal with the new team.

"Coaching overseas has always been one of my goals and with the highly-regarded Melbourne Storm picking up the reins of the first ever national elite-level sport's team to represent the Sunshine Coast, the timing was perfect to be part of a new venture and new era for netball.

"It doesn't get any more exciting than moving to a new country to coach a brand new team in a ground-breaking competition. For that I am grateful and relishing the opportunity."

The Storm/USC netball franchise was announced in May by Netball Australia as a preferred bidder for one of three new team licences and is in the process of finalising its team participation agreement with the governing body.

Melbourne Storm CEO Dave Donaghy described Taurua's signing a major coup for the new club.

"With 16 years high performance experience to lead our inaugural team, she was the right person for the job," said Donaghy.

"With Noeline's appointment the team will now commence player recruitment as part of the free agency period as we look to assemble an exciting and talented squad for the upcoming season.

"We look forward to introducing Noeline to the Sunshine Coast community - as well as the wider Australian netball community - in the coming weeks, as we make other major announcements."

- NZ Herald

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