If there's one thing Noeline Taurua wants the Silver Ferns to do, it's to toughen up.
Going down 60-55 in the Quad Series closer on Sunday afternoon, the Ferns suffered their seventh-straight defeat to the Australian Diamonds unable to snatch the title from the back-to-back defending champions.
It was an improved performance from the ailing national side, however, who since last October have suffered 21, 19, 16, 12, and eight-point losses to the three-time reigning world champions, but according to Taurua, the Ferns' lack of fight on the court was exposed.
After struggling to combat the Australian's iconic one-on-one defensive style, Taurua urged the Ferns to toughen up and stop playing the victim.
"I think for those moments when we're getting hit, we go somewhere else, we become very reactive and what I call 'victim mode," Taurua said after the match.
"Physicality is one of their styles and we need to be able to handle that physicality, take the body on, and execute … I think we got caught up in it instead of knowing that's what we need to expect.
"We need to be able to deliver the ball and execute under pressure so the more that that happens to us and I can detach those feelings, then I can work that mental side of our game."
Taurua's call for tougher play was similar to comments she made after reviewing the Ferns' record 52-39 loss against England in the Quad Series opener in Auckland.
Admitting that the Ferns were simply being out-muscled, Taurua labelled the two losses as reality checks suggesting that it was another reminder of how world netball had continued to progress without kiwi representation during the regular season.
"Like all teams, it's very competitive out there and we cannot rely on the umpire's call," she said.
"We've just got to know that that's how it's going to be, we have enough skill to be able to work off that and execute and deliver under that pressure so I'd like a shift in our mindset, that physicality is part of the game and we don't need to be surprised about it."
The Ferns will have just over a week to individually rest and regroup before enduring their second training camp on October 2 where Taurua will be tasked with another quick turnaround to address the issues identified.
Although disappointed to have only been able to claim one win from the Series, Taurua said she was overall pleased with her new side's efforts and felt she was clearer on what needed to be done in the coming weeks ahead of the Constellation Cup.
"Obviously it's all about winning, for us to only win one game out of the three is probably in one respect not a good start, but secondly there have been improvements every time we've taken the court," she said.
"I know where we clearly are at and what the plan is moving forward but I couldn't be more happier and pleased with the team and their willingness to be better and represent New Zealand well."
The Silver Ferns will play the first of four test matches against the Diamonds when the Constellation Cup tips off on October 7.