There are a few ways to choose people for positions of significance.

Some teams swap captains during tournaments or from one event to another.

The simplest, of course, is the coach picks his or her leader and get on with it.

One of the more unusual is getting the players the captain will lead to vote for who they want in charge.


But that's what Netball New Zealand have done ahead of tomorrow's announcement of who new coach Noeline Taurua will have as her on-court leader.

Players and a couple of officials have voted 3-2-1 on their preferred captain as NNZ look to move beyond the Janine Southby reign which ended in the disastrous Commonwealth Games tournament in April.

On one level it might seem an even-handed way to do it. No one's vote counts for more than another, but here's the problem: No matter what they'll say after the vote, it risks turning into a popularity contest.

You imagine the players have been told it is their choice to make individually not in consultation.

But players being the way they are, they'll confer with their friends — who have you picked? and so on.

Two captaincy examples:

When Roy Keane was made captain at Manchester United no one would pretend he was best friends with players in the squad.
The opposite in fact in many cases. Forthright didn't do the combative Irishman justice but he was a winner, led from the front in ferocious fashion and took the club to unprecedented success, notably in winning the league, cup and Champions League treble in 1999.

In 1966, the All Blacks needed a new captain after Wilson Whineray retired.


Coach Fred Allen had three players in mind, all legends, Colin Meads, Ken Gray and Kel Tremain. Then a fourth name emerged: Brian Lochore, the Wairarapa-Bush farmer and No 8.

For various reasons, Allen put a line through the first three and the least expected got the nod and became one of the most celebrated, and revered, All Black captains.

So it's strange how things work out.

Presumably Taurua has someone in mind, perhaps the returning midcourt dynamo Laura Langman, with whom she worked at the Sunshine Coast Lightning; maybe engaging defender and incumbent Katrina Grant.

There could be a dark horse in her mind. It defies any logic that she really doesn't mind who the skipper is.

Imagine this: the poll results come in and someone is found top of the heap, but Taurua has nagging doubts.

What then? Does she tell her players 'thanks for your considerations, I know you've voted for X but Y will be my captain''. That'd go down well.

No, the coach has to have 100 percent faith in his or her captain for the best reasons.

Without that coach/captain degree of harmony, the situation is ripe for the sort of sideways glances in the team room or courtside huddle which can suggest all is less than peachy.

And as the sport is looking ahead to a return to happier times, this is not the time to risk more disaffection in the sport.