The Silver Ferns are the world champions of their sport - and it's two Bay of Plenty women who have helped get them there.

Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua - a former Rotorua woman who went to school in Taupō - and assistant coach, Tauranga-based Deb Fuller have led New Zealand's national netball team to glory with a memorable 52-51 win over Australia in the Vitality Netball World Cup final in Liverpool on Monday morning (NZ time).

The win was the first time the Silver Ferns have won the World Cup title in 16 years and was a massive contrast to last year when the national side lost to Malawi at the Commonwealth Games under the coaching of Janine Southby.

Taurua, who doubled up as a coach of Australia's Sunshine Coast Lightning for 2018/19, took over as SIlver Ferns coach last August and has once again proven herself as a winning leader. Her Lightning team has won back-to-back titles in Australia's Super Netball League and under her tutelage, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic became the first New Zealand team to win the transtasman ANZ Championship title in 2012.


Taurua's latest win is expected to have a huge impact on the sport locally.

Rotorua Netball coach co-ordinator Maylene Meroiti was ecstatic with the outcome of the game and said it would reignite a passion in coaches in the district.

"It's a win, win," she said, "for coaches and players".

Meroiti, who coaches numerous teams and also provides modules and pathways for coaches, said she was personally influenced by Taurua and the way she led a team.

She said Taurua built a strong foundation based on team culture which would allow for creativity in trainings and ultimately have space to develop in the changing face of the sport.

"It will give a boost to our Rotorua coaches and show them you can go from a team who hasn't achieved much and turn them around in a short timeframe."

"She's there to give you 100 per cent and she has that expectation that everyone involved needs to give it their 100 per cent," Meroiti said.

Meroiti said the champion coaching team from the Bay of Plenty was powerful and something to admire.


Former Silver Fern and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic player, Pāpāmoa's Jodi Tod says Fuller and Taurua were a dynamic duo and had the same personality, focus and values when it came to netball and the culture they strived to create.

"It's not just about the game you know, it's about the people and the people that we are and I think that really shows."

Magic defender Jodi Tod and Mystic shooter Maria Tutaia during the ANZ Championship Netball in 2011. Photo / File
Magic defender Jodi Tod and Mystic shooter Maria Tutaia during the ANZ Championship Netball in 2011. Photo / File

The pair shared a holistic approach to players and the game which is something that made Tod want to play well for them.

As someone who has been coached by Taurua, Tod says her style is something she likes to emulate.

"I've always been under Noels so whenever I went back to coach, I always took on her stuff and I think that just help develop the person."

Fuller offered a lot of constant encouragement and would bounce off Taurua well, and brought an impeccable defensive knowledge.

She jokingly said she doubted her body could cope playing again but is back into coaching this year - her 7-year-old daughter Ruby's team at Tahatai Coast Primary School.

Former SIlver Fern Jodi Tod

Netball Rotorua secretary Mary Thompson said if anyone was going to guide the Silver Ferns to victory, it would be Taurua.

"She's just got incredible determination ... nobody else could have done it, I'm sure of that," she said.

"She's just got that x-factor."

This could in part be credited to her having been a player herself, experiencing being on a winning and losing team, and could use this in her approach to the players.

Taurua was a volatile goal attack and played in the 1995 World Cup and 1998 Commonwealth Games for the Silver Ferns before a knee injury ended her career.

The Silver Ferns celebrate winning the Netball World Cup. Photo /Getty
The Silver Ferns celebrate winning the Netball World Cup. Photo /Getty

She moved into coaching, working her way through the ranks and became an assistant coach of the Silver Ferns in 2011.

"I saw her coaching ability when she was here with Magic," Thompson says.

"Winners are grinners," Thompson said, and she hoped the win would inject interest into the game.

Rotorua's Erena Mikaere has signed for the Waikato/BOP Magic for 2020 and has played under Taurua's guiding wing in both the Magic and the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

She was up first thing this morning to watch the game and said her heart was torn as she watched the girls from both sides play, having recently moved back to New Zealand from Australia.

"She's a coach that as a player you want to play for, you want to do everything you can to get her the result," she said.

"She brings in a culture that's about family and belief and she installs belief in the players," she said.

"You just look at her and think - man I'm so lucky to be coached by you."