Game ‘A hiding’: Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua left with plenty to ponder

Game ‘A hiding’: Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua left with plenty to ponder

Game

game Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua says individuals must take a big step up following her side’s big defeat to the Australian Diamonds.

Matthew Impey/Photosport

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua says individuals must take a big step up following her side’s big defeat to the Australian Diamonds.

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua says there are no excuses for her side’s “hiding” at the hands of the Australian Diamonds and is demanding immediate improvements from individuals as the Commonwealth Games looms large.

The world champions were thrashed 53-39 in their Quad Series opener in London on Sunday (NZ time), and have less than 24 hours to lick their wounds before re-taking the court with perhaps an even tougher task, up against England (5.15am Monday, NZT) in this quick-fire tournament.

New Zealand have a largely inexperienced squad of 14 at what is the last chance at preparation for the Games in Birmingham in July-August, and after suffering their heaviest defeat in their past 15 tests against Australia, they have been given an immediate wake-up call.

game Tiana Metuarau endured an unhappy 21st birthday as the goal attack struggled in the Quad Series Opener against Australia.

Matthew Impey/Photosport

Tiana Metuarau endured an unhappy 21st birthday as the goal attack struggled in the Quad Series Opener against Australia.

In a far cry from their 3-1 Constellation Cup series win in Christchurch last March, the Ferns were completely outclassed by their trans-Tasman rivals at the Copper Box, and only a 10-6 final-quarter win when the game was already done stopped things getting even uglier.

READ MORE:

* Silver Ferns thrashed by Australian Diamonds in Quad Series opener

* Battle for selection heats up in Silver Ferns’ last major outing before Commonwealth Games

* Curtain to be pulled back on international netball in Northern Quad Series

“We got a schooling,” Taurua admitted in a post-game interview with the host broadcaster. “They were very good, so we’ve definitely got to pay them that respect.

“I think there’s no excuse that you lose by that amount… there’s a lot of room for improvement.”

game Steph Wood, in conjunction with Gretel Bueta, were a sharp-shooting combo for the Diamonds.

Chloe Knott/Getty Images

Steph Wood, in conjunction with Gretel Bueta, were a sharp-shooting combo for the Diamonds.

Taurua, who 18 months ago steered the Ferns’ remarkable turnaround to World Cup glory in Liverpool, where they beat the Diamonds by one goal in the final, was left to rue not one, but two slow starts, where the Aussies got out to an initial 6-1 lead, and then also went on a seven-goal spree straight after halftime.

Asked later in the post-match press conference if those slumps straight after a break were a concern, Taurua indicated it was indeed something which had been requiring attention for some time.

“Oh, massively, it’s crippling,” she said. “And we’ve spoken about that many a time.

“This is probably one of the areas that eludes us at the moment. We’re very aware that if we don’t [start well], we get caught on the back foot, as we were today.”

The coach was also forthright with where she saw her biggest issues in the defeat, acknowledging that her attacking end was sub-standard, under the intense pressure from the Diamonds.

While Maia Wilson netted 24/26, she lacked good support, with Tiana Metuarau (12/18) enduring an unhappy 21st birthday, while 19-year-old Grace Nweke (3/5) also struggled in her cameo, and captain and wing attack Gina Crampton was also singled out, having been benched at halftime.

game Sam Winders competes for the ball with Liz Watson during the trans-Tasman contest at the Copper Box.

Chloe Knott/Getty Images

Sam Winders competes for the ball with Liz Watson during the trans-Tasman contest at the Copper Box.

“You’ve got to be able to do your job, not cough the ball up, put the ball through the hoop, otherwise it puts more pressure on everybody else,” Taurua, herself a former Ferns shooter, said.

“I don’t think Gina and Tiana worked with each other on the line, and to some degree Gina got exposed. So she needs to prep a wee bit more tomorrow so that she receives the ball uncontested.

“It’s the youngest individuals or combinations that we’ve ever had in the Silver Ferns. But they’re the best, or some of the best, people that we have in New Zealand, the only way that you’re going to learn is getting out there, and sometimes you have good experiences, and [sometimes] not.

“So I always think with everybody it’s what they do next that makes the difference, and whether they’re willing and ready to be a world-class player. So tomorrow’s going to be massive. We need a shift, and individuals need to be able to do their job. So it’s all on the line.”

While Taurua went into the tournament keen to get all players on court, she said her substitutions – the late Phoenix Karaka introduction aside – were not about just handing out game-time for the sake of it, and were instead geared towards winning the contest. Uncapped duo Filda Vui and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan were the two players not part of the 12 against the Diamonds.

The task won’t get any easier against hosts and reigning Commonwealth Games champs England, who hammered South Africa 71-47 in their opener and last September created history with their first-ever series win in New Zealand.

“We’ve got to lick the wounds and put our big pants on and be prepared as much as possible, not necessarily physically, but also mentally,” Taurua said.

“We just need to take it on the chin and move on.”

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.