By Liam Napier in Liverpool
When euphoric elation fades, Netball New Zealand should grovel at Noeline Taurua's feet.
It seems wrong on some levels to attribute World Cup glory to one person. But, then, without Taurua, the Silver Ferns would not be where they now stand.
Not so long ago, despite unrivalled domestic success, Taurua did not fit NNZ's 'strategic direction'. She was overlooked, unwanted for the top job by the previous hierarchy, all because her methods did not fit inside box.
Turns out those prescriptive confines were the problem. Not the other way around.
"She should be lauded for what she's done for New Zealand netball," defeated Australian coach Lisa Alexander said. "She's got it right back on the map again. It's an amazing achievement."
But one strength behind the Taurua transformation is her nous to include other great netball minds.
Taurua knew she couldn't do this alone; knew the tight-knit netball community were ready to help lift the national team from their embarrassing state. She reached out, and embraced them all.
Only those comfortable in their own skin are prepared to seek outside input.
Taurua called on Donna Wilkins, Margret Foster, Yvonne Willering, just to name a few influential minds, and included the six franchises coaches to all add opinions in specific areas.
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While she juggled her role guiding the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Australia, Taurua relied on assistant and long-time confidant Debbie Fuller to oversee the New Zealand operation.
Everything was mapped out, every detail meticulously planned.
"I'm very aware of my role but I'm only one person in the mix of everything," Taurua said, attempting to defect praise. "I'm proud of our holistic, our collective, and knowing that every person has a role to play in the big picture.
"It started in August and the strategy behind it but also knowing we had to go through a bit of pain to know exactly what we had, and know where the opposition is, and the steps to improve ourselves.
"Every game and every camp was about being better than the previous. It was a slow grind, but sometimes all good things take time.
"There's probably areas if I'm honest I know we can do better but we'll take it, we're very humbled."
It's the surprise successes that get you in sport. The creeping, unexpected triumphs.
From rabble to tear-jerking champions, netball may never see this like again.
It wasn't just the Ferns rebounding from such depths, in 11 months, but the way they stormed England's home World Cup to claim their first title for 16 years.
They beat the best to get there, too.
Taurua's vision; unrelenting commitment to an explosive style not only restored mana and pride to the black dress, but again had the Ferns inspiring with the brand synonymous to New Zealand netball.
She released burdens, empowered her athletes with the belief and freedom to play, no matter the situation.
Their deepest cuts were healed by faith.
The Ferns won this World Cup because defensively Casey Kopua, Jane Watson, Katrina Rore, a revelation at wing defence, and Laura Langman consistently won ball.
They won because Maria Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio, one of the stars of the tournament, converted clutch turnover after turnover.
It sounds so simple but such an aggressive, attacking approach requires immense conviction. This is the method to the madness Taurua oft quotes.
On the ground at least, after devastating England in the semifinal, New Zealand's march to the title felt inevitable.
In the end they rode the wave to win by one goal, Australia claiming one quarter in the final.
Had anyone predicted either after the Commonwealth Games, they would be referred to a concussion clinic.
Of course it's a no-brainer to now say NNZ should retain Taurua. The Ferns job should have been hers long ago, and she could well go on to claim Halberg coach of the year.
Winning the World Cup from fourth-ranked takes some doing in any sport.
As for whether she stays on, well, that is totally her call. She has earned that right.
Time is needed before the significance of Taurua's impact truly sinks in but history will long remember her feat.
"I've never been so quiet in my life. It's very hard to explain what the emotion and feeling is at the moment. It definitely makes everything worthwhile.
"It is heartfelt, not only for us but also the other people we represent; Netball New Zealand, our community and our country. There's a lot in it for a lot of people."
Those same people are grateful.
Grateful to the players, the staff, but most of all grateful Taurua had the chance to prove she is one of the greatest coaches netball will see.
The final word:
Tears flowed as Katrina Rore, captain at the time, fronted throughout last year's Commonwealth Games capitulation. Effort was never an issue but culture and expertise were absent from that tournament.
Rore was subsequently stripped of the Ferns captaincy; dropped from the squad when Taurua came on board. She fought her way back with the Pulse, only to injure her calf on the eve of the World Cup and need to pass a fitness test in England to retain her place.
If that wasn't enough, Rore then had to switch positions, pushing up the court to play a starring role at wing defence in the semifinal and final.
What a ride this was for a stoic individual who endured so much pain, including two previous World Cup final defeats to Australia.
"Back in December just because people weren't selected it didn't mean anything to me," Taurua said. "It was just at that moment in time. There was a method to the madness to try and get as many people through before we had ANZ but also making sure when you get the black dress you don't take it for granted.
"Her journey to come back and her tenaciousness to get back from injury – she got back one to two weeks earlier than what her injury was. She has been managed by quarters. Our medical staff have kept myself and Deb under the thumb but we knew her experience was going to be vital.
"She has done an amazing job moving from goal defence to wing defence. That mix of her, Casey and Jane and Laura was something in my head."