New Zealand’s Coach of the Year, Dame Noeline Taurua, shares the method to her madness in the latest episode of Pure As, a mini documentary series on the Silver Ferns’ personal journeys to World Cup glory.

The first few months of her job as Silver Ferns coach were as painful as pulling teeth, Dame Noeline Taurua reveals.

While Taurua had just 11 months to turn around the fortunes of the fading Silver Ferns at the 2019 Netball World Cup, sometimes she says it felt like a long time.

“The first stages were like going to the dentist and getting my teeth pulled out. It was quite painful at first,” the Halberg Coach of the Year reveals in the Pure As mini documentary series made by Netball New Zealand.  

The Silver Ferns weren’t ready to play the style of game that would win a World Cup: “There were so many areas that were missing. There were a lot of things that needed to happen.”

So Taurua set out stages that the team needed to toil through to win netball’s holy grail for the first time in 16 years.

There was, she says, a method to her madness; a “massive strategy behind it”. And through her determination, integrity and her own “bloody-mindedness”, she made it work.

Taurua explains how initially she “set up” some young Silver Ferns by tossing them into the cauldron of top international netball against Australia, England and South Africa. Combinations began to gel six months before the World Cup. 

It wasn’t until the team arrived in Liverpool, with their “PURE” mantra (Play to win, United, Ruthless, Explosive), that all the pieces of Taurua’s plan fell into place.

“By the time we hit the Netball World Cup, there was nothing we shouldn’t know about the team or about each other. We’ve been exposed, been killed, at all the camps we’ve been to, we were physically mangled … emotionally drained,” Taurua says.

“By the time you get to that line singing the national anthem we all know what people are going to do and not going to do. When you are in that space, that’s when you get the magic.”

Taurua explains why the semi-final against home nation England was their “gold medal match” and how she felt during the final against Australia. 

She also talks about juggling the job with coaching the Sunshine Coast Lightning – and how netball in both Australia and New Zealand will benefit long-term from her three-year stint. 

Six of the world champion Silver Ferns share their personal stories in the ‘Pure As’ series, giving insights into the Ferns’ individual journeys towards uplifting the World Cup in Liverpool. The first in the series featured Ameliaranne Ekenasio followed by Casey Kopua. 

Episodes are released weekly through, and shown on LockerRoom every Saturday.

Suzanne McFadden, the 2021 Voyager Media Awards Sports Journalist of the Year, founded LockerRoom, dedicated to women's sport.

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