Sunshine Coast Lightning coach Noeline Taurua will now double up as head coach of the Silver Ferns, Netball New Zealand revealed today.
Taurua becomes the 11th Silver Ferns coach to guide the national team and will be in charge when the Silver Ferns head to England next year for the Netball World Cup in Liverpool.
Taurua will continue to fulfil her role as head coach at Sunshine Coast Lightning, where she is contracted until the end of the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball season and has led the team to back-to-back premierships.
NNZ Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie believed it was an innovative move to get the right person into the job as Silver Ferns coach.
“We have joined with Sunshine Coast Lightning to make this unique position work,” Wyllie said.
“It is a first for Netball New Zealand and we’re delighted to be moving forward with someone of Noeline’s calibre.”
She said they were pleased to be able to secure a coach with Taurua’s experience, dedication and passion for the game.
“Noeline has been a head coach of franchise teams both here and in Australia and tasted success on both sides of the Tasman,” she said.
“Her knowledge of the game is immense, and Noeline is well respected by the athletes and netball community, which is hugely important building towards next year’s Netball World Cup.
“The international game has never been so competitive and we are confident Noeline is the right person to guide the Silver Ferns back to the top.”
Taurua said she considered it a privilege to coach the Silver Ferns and looked forward to stepping into the role and taking the team to new heights.
“I am very fortunate that most major international netball events are scheduled outside the Suncorp Super Netball season, enabling me to dedicate adequate time and attention to both roles,” Taurua said.
“Netball New Zealand and Sunshine Coast Lightning have given significant consideration to my coaching schedule and reached an agreement that will see me share my time between both teams.
“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to take this step forward in my career and want to acknowledge the extraordinary level of support and encouragement I have received from my family, Sunshine Coast Lightning, Netball New Zealand and the general netball community.”
Sunshine Coast Lightning CEO Danielle Smith commended Taurua on the appointment and said the Club fully supported her in her endeavours.
“We are incredibly grateful to Noeline for the instrumental role she has played – and continues to play – in our Club’s development and success to date,” Smith said.
“We have worked closely with both Noeline and Netball New Zealand to afford her the opportunity to perform both roles and are confident she will be able to perform them both successfully.
“One of our core Club values is people, and we feel privileged to support her appointment to this esteemed national head coach position, particularly as throughout the process, Noeline never wavered in maintaining her full commitment to Lightning.
“Noeline’s work ethic, coaching expertise and people skills are second to none and we believe our Club can only benefit from her adopting this dual role as it will create additional opportunities for her to learn and grow as a coach.”
Smith said when considering the appointment, Sunshine Coast Lightning had consulted with Netball Australia and worked closely with the organisation to manage any questions and potential concerns about the dual appointment.
“It is obviously unprecedented for a Suncorp Super Netball League head coach to also be the head coach of an international team, so it was a learning process for us all,” she said.
“We are very pleased we have received the support of the Netball Australia board regarding Noeline’s continued appointment at Lightning.”
South Africa Proteas player and Sunshine Coast Lightning defender Karla Pretorius said she and the Lightning team were fully behind Taurua and she looked forward to seeing the competition heat up on the international stage.
“Like most athletes, I relish a challenge and I’m excited at the prospect of coming up against a new and improved New Zealand squad,” Pretorius said.
“Noeline is an incredible coach and with her skill and heart, I have no doubt she will add value to the Silver Ferns.
“While it will be surreal to see her on the opposing team’s bench in international competition, it’s ultimately no different to when I take on my Lightning teammates Steph Wood, Caitlin Bassett and Geva Mentor.
“I’m sure there will be some healthy rivalry, but ultimately, I welcome a hotly-contested international netball competition as it will only help to grow the professionalism and profile of the sport.”