Netball New Zealand are in a race against time to hire the next Silver Ferns head coach after the resignation of Janine Southby, and the leading candidate may not be immediately available.
The Silver Ferns will next month name their first squad since their disastrous showing at the Commonwealth Games, and with Southby resigning as a result of the review into the Games performance, there is little time to search for her successor.
The Silver Ferns name their squad on August 14 for September's Quad Series against Australia, England and South Africa, and they will need to quickly comb through candidates.
The standout will surely be Noeline Taurua, who has led the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic and Southern Steel to New Zealand domestic titles, before then winning the Australian Super Netball competition in her first year with the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
However, even if Taurua is identified as the best candidate, she is unlikely to be available in time to take over for the Quad Series.
The former Silver Fern is contracted with the Lightning until the end of the 2019 season, and with the Lightning in a playoffs push, her season won't conclude until August 5 (if the Lightning miss the playoffs) or the end of August (if they make the final).
Adding to the complication is the Netball NZ claim they have not been in contact with any prospective candidates.
"We've had a head coach in the role up until today and it would have been incredibly unprofessional and inappropriate to make any other approaches," said Netball NZ CEO Jennie Wyllie.
With a short turnaround to sign a coach before their next squad is named, Wyllie admitted a caretaker coach could be an option.
"Time is of the essence - we need to be realistic, and flexible. That might mean putting in a caretaker coach. We need to work through that process in the next few days," said Wyllie.
Southby's resignation leaves a clean slate with the Ferns' coaching staff. Her assistant coach for the Commonwealth Games, Yvette McCausland-Durie, is now off-contract and is unlikely to put her hand up for the role due to being under contract with the Central Pulse for next season.
"I would assume you couldn't have that role if you were in a head coach role at a franchise anyway, so I had never looked at that. I signed up last year for two years [with the Pulse] and I feel that's a really important step for me in my development. I've got lots still to learn," she told Radio Sport.
McCausland-Durie says she would be more likely to push for a role as coach of the newly-formed New Zealand A side, or try to stay on as assistant.
"What I've had with the assistant coach role has been really significant, and if there's something around that role - it might work."