The Silver Ferns need a good dose of Taurua magic if they're to stand a chance at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in just six months.
The Quad Series in London was the perfect way for New Zealand to see where they are at against the world's best, and I think it's fair to say we now know. There's plenty of work to do in order to avoid the disappointment they experienced in the Gold Coast almost four years ago.
Although it's easy to judge the team, we need to remember this group is a new crop compared with the star-studded lineup who led us to World Cup glory in 2019. The Ferns have lost their fossils in Casey Kopua, Laura Langman and Maria Folau, not to mention they were without World Cup-winners Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Katrina Rore and Jane Watson for this series, who are vital cogs in the New Zealand side.
The first loss to Australia was one hell of a wake-up call. The Aussies' ball speed and aggression was punishing, and the Ferns struggled to keep up. The narrow loss to England was an improvement, but it was individual mistakes that let the side down. Then it was South Africa for two games in a row. In the round-robin match, the Ferns showed glimpses of brilliance, particularly on defence. And in the final match, the Proteas wouldn't let up, and the Kiwis had to work hard to secure a one-goal win.
So, where do the Ferns go from here?
If it's any consolation, New Zealand placed third in both the 2018 and 2019 Quad Series, losing to both Australia and England and beating South Africa, so there's a bit of a trend here.
If I've learnt anything from Dame Noeline Taurua's time in the top job, it's that she's a genius. She has the ability to turn nothing into something in just a matter of months. She'll know the upcoming ANZ Premiership will allow players to get up to speed leading into Birmingham.
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There will be some Silver Ferns fans worried that the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are coming back to haunt us. But if one thing's for sure, the current playing group never want to experience something like that ever again. Despite not being involved in that disappointing campaign, Taurua understands the hurt and frustration it brought among the organisation. Her standards are far too high for the team to drop to that level.
So yes, there is a boatload of work to do in six months. Defensively, the team showed plenty of promise, but it's about finding a combination that works. The pairing of Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick was impressive, both picking up clean intercepts and working off each other well in the circle. Kayla Johnson also showed what she's capable of, and with more court time, I have no doubt she'll be back to her best.
In the middle there are many question marks. It's not about finding a replacement for the greatest of all time, Langman, it's about someone else stamping their mark. Claire Kersten was the best performer in the centre bib in London, but the position is still up for grabs with Shannon Saunders, Sam Winders and Kimiora Poi all breathing down her neck.
To the shooters, Maia Wilson is still our best under the post. Newcomers in Tiana Metuarau and Grace Nweke are also putting their hands up, but the Ferns are missing the leadership of Ekenasio, and her ability to get the ball anywhere in the circle and turn and shoot.
I haven't lost faith in the Ferns because it's still early days. But players need to lift to another gear if they want to have a medal around their neck come August.