This week the Bay of Plenty Times introduces a new column called Williams on Wednesday, taking a mid-week look at some of the biggest sporting news and events and more. Today, Peter Williams talks Silver Ferns and Bay of Plenty Steamers.
Netball should be on a high this week. The Premiership final in Palmerston North was a classic and today a new Silver Ferns squad will be named.
But it seems the team will at best have an interim coach. The media advisory for the announcement talked of "an update on the new head coach appointment process".
It's pretty obvious the person Netball New Zealand wants for the job – proven winner Noeline Taurua – either isn't in a hurry to take the job or doesn't want it at all.
Who can blame her?
In 2015, when the job was last vacant, Taurua didn't even get an interview. This despite winning two of the old National Bank Cups with the Magic, taking the same team to two transtasman ANZ Championship grand finals before winning the title in 2012, and never missing the playoffs with either the Magic or the Southern Steel from 2005 to 2015.
Taurua's snub was appalling.
The failure of the Silver Ferns under the woman who did get the job, Janine Southby, was almost predictable. She had no record of coaching success at senior level.
The worst thing about the Netball New Zealand review of the calamitous Commonwealth Games campaign is that it only goes back to January 1, 2016.
Southby was appointed, and Taurua excluded, by a panel - including the then chief executive Hilary Poole - in November 2015.
Poole is now on the Board of High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPNZ). The chairman of the review panel, Don MacKinnon is a former chairman of Netball New Zealand and a former director at HPNZ, although never working directly with Poole.
The initial reason for the Silver Ferns' demise, which hit its nadir at the Commonwealth Games, was the flawed appointment of Southby.
But nobody is reviewing that.
Netball has a long way to come back. There are five tests during the Quad Series and Constellation Cup in September and October – three against Australia and one each against England and South Africa.
The way things are currently, anything better than a win over South Africa will be a considerable step forward.
But it would help to have a coach named on the same day as the players. That may not happen today.
Every rugby team starts a new season full of hope.
The Bay of Plenty Steamers have every reason to begin the 2018 campaign with optimism.
They reached the tier 2 championship final last year and reckon they can go one better this year and win promotion to the premiership.
The key may be the first five games. Four of them are the crossover matches against premiership opposition - including champions Canterbury, at Tauranga Domain, two weeks from Saturday.
If the Steamers can claim at least one scalp against either Taranaki, Counties–Manukau, Canterbury or North Harbour before mid-September, and beat Hawke's Bay as well on September 8, big steps will have been taken towards a home semifinal.
Pre-season results count for nothing but the confidence the Steamers have surely taken from beating North Harbour and then suffering an unlucky loss to Auckland in Katikati last Friday must have instilled confidence that the team can be seriously competitive this year.