Only five minutes separate them but Tammy Kupa has a perfectly good explanation as to why younger twin sister Annemarie took charge as player/coach of the netball teams they played in.

"She did bounce ideas off us and we would give our feedback to her but she'd still go with what she wanted to whether it was our decision or not," says a laughing Tammy in revealing the time lapse in birth made no difference at all to seniority when it came to playing netball.

The 41-year-olds were both at the helm of Thirsty Whale Otane once but Tammy played second fiddle.

"She's got much more patience than I do in forming relationships with players," says Tammy. "She's got a knack for the coaching side so every now and then I'd put my 2c worth but she's definitely got more vision from a coaching point of view."

Advertisement

Explains Annemarie: "She's the bossy one. She calls a spade a spade, that girl."

She is quick to point out Tammy made timely contributions to the coaching equation of Otane where they made 17 finals on the trot, claiming 14 crowns.

However, it will be interesting to see if all that makes a difference when Otane play Napier Girls' High School Senior A in the Super 8 Hawke's Bay premier club final at the Pettigrew-Green Arena, Napier, from 7.45pm today.

"For Rease [Annemarie] and me it's our dream final with both these teams in there," says Tammy whose sister coaches NGHS and hasn't been involved with Otane for two seasons.

Last year, NGHS entered the Super 8 competition so Annemarie crossed the floor to mentor the schoolgirls because daughter Parris Petera, 15, a wing attack/centre, is in the team. The rules didn't allow the mother to coach both teams as she had done the year before the school had entered the Super 8 domain.

It's a flashback to the days when Annemarie Kupa and daughter Parris Petera were in Otane colours but now they sport the tribal colours of Napier Girls' High School. Photo / File
It's a flashback to the days when Annemarie Kupa and daughter Parris Petera were in Otane colours but now they sport the tribal colours of Napier Girls' High School. Photo / File

"We were pretty gutted for ourselves really to let Rease go but it was a big chance for the young ones because that's where our development players came from," says Tammy of NGHS and Hastings Girls' High School.

Player/co-coach Tammy counted Otane's blessings in securing the mentoring services of Jewels Falcon, the daughter of accomplished Physique coach Eliza Falcon.

"It was always Rease's style of coaching to develop so it's good she's able to do that with all the Napier girls."

Advertisement

The twins played netball from the age of 14 but Tammy, after five seasons with Physique 2000, played for the Auckland Diamonds (two years) and Wellington Shakers (one year) franchises. The Flyers later merged with the Shakers to form Central Pulse.

After just five games for Otane this season due to work, the Farmers store manager has made a timely return.

"I actually don't feel that much pressure going out playing Napier Girls as I would against All In [Elusive] or Outkast [Optimise Physio]," says Tammy.

That doesn't mean Otane will let complacency creep in.

No doubt, Tammy and Otane find it scary that a group of gung ho teenagers, with fitness and speed to boot, is coming through to take control in the competition.

"It's all go, go, go for them so we need to play smarter netball, especially at our age," she says. "We can't just keep running and following players so we need to cut lines down."

Tammy is mindful the new-look Otane side has displayed the ability to play smarter as they have found cohesiveness and combinations this season amid losses.

A post mortem reveals Otane's downfall has been their inability to treasure possession, which resulted in the first loss to NGHS in the early four-round shield competition.

Otane prided themselves as a team who, once they got their mitts on the ball, it wasn't easy to prise it off them but she feels that was inevitable this season because of new players.

For 15 years Annemarie was player/coach, breaking the trend of Tammy and their younger sister, Becky, of playing outside the province at a higher level to go on a two-year OE. Becky is expecting her second child in November and stopped playing after a few rounds.

Annemarie (left), Becky and Tammy Kupa are household names in Hawke's Bay netball from their heydey. Photo / File
Annemarie (left), Becky and Tammy Kupa are household names in Hawke's Bay netball from their heydey. Photo / File

A centre/wing attack, Annemarie returned to join the fold of the Falcon dynasty competing as Physique 2000 where they made 10 consecutive premier club finals, winning six.

However, tonight other wins will count for nothing because winning the shield came at a time when oppositions were fine-tuning their combinations.

Besides, NGHS played only sides in their pool and then went to crossover matches.

"When it comes to finals, Otane have a lot of experienced heads so that's going to be a key factor for them."

For NGHS, Annemarie says her young charges will need to stay mentally in the game for 60 minutes after soaking up the atmosphere.

"They'll need to play it like it's just another game," she says, expecting butterflies in her teenagers' tummy in making their maiden Super 8 final.

She suspects the losses for Otane this season have been a timely catalyst to tweak their systems but is confident NGHS can win the crown.

"Tam's a key factor and she's just got a good head on her so she remains calm and controls the attacking line," she says.

Annemarie says All In player Imke Kitchen was the top shooter in Super 8 but NGHS have girls who are capable of having done better had injury not taken hold.

"They [NGHS shooters] are always over 85 per cent."

The predominantly Year 11 girls — only one player, GK Valentine Kahukura, won't return next year — will be a stiffer challenge next season.

She echoes Tammy's sentiments that it's the dream final. Against other teams she barks helpful tips to players at the height of battle on the court but against Otane she has been quiet.

"I really struggle to yell because it's so hard to watch and I love them [teams] both," says Annemarie, stressing it's not "bad yelling" but on-court reminders that really work.

"It'll be a great final and I'm so happy we'll be together. It's a coach's dream, really"

The Otane faithful have had a fair brainstorming session on social media about who they should support now that Annemarie is coaching NGHS.

Some have pledged support either way while others have a foot in both camps because of the short history between Otane and NGHS who have trained together.