Training intensity has increased, strategy is in place and players have been addressed - now coach Noeline Taurua says it's time to work.
Silver Ferns head coach Noeline Taurua believes everything has been done
to prepare her side to face world champions Australia on Sunday morning
in game two of the Northern Quad Series.
With two training sessions a day which include on-court drills and gym
sessions as well as a practice match against England A - no stone has
been left unturned in London after last week's 54 to 41 loss to England.
All Taurua needs now is for her players to come to the party.
"The main boulders we are facing is the ability to execute, consistency
and sustaining the intensity because when we go walk about we lose
possession of the ball," says Taurua
"Quite fast we can be down by four to six points and that's usually by error of individuals and quite costly."
"It's now about our ability to execute and deliver on the words that we
talk about and that seems to be taking us a wee bit of time to do," says
It's not all doom and gloom though.
As the search for ideal combinations continue, Taurua has at least
"found her base" in her three veterans Casey Kopua, Laura Langman and
Defender Casey Kopua. You can't fast track game smarts and that's what Kopua brings Taurua in defence.
With Australian captain Caitlin Bassett out with injury Kopua can
capitalise on rebounds with the freedom to hunt down her attacker before
striking the ball without having to worry about height.
Kopua is finding her feet slowly but Taurua has brought her back for a reason - doing what she does best leading from the back.
"I was really happy with what Casey was able to put out there especially
coming back from injury and hadn't been on court since May 2018," says
Midcourter Laura Langman. Wing defence is the most underrated position
on any netball court because setting up defenders to turn the ball over
in the back is a thankless task.
Taurua has signalled that Langman may switch to centre this weekend if
it isn't working, no matter which position though guiding her fellow
'middies' and disrupting flow of ball into opposing shooters is her
specialty and what needs to occur.
"To have her in there strengthens that defensive unit and provides
stability... I wouldn't rule her out of centre, but I do have Kimiora
(Poi) and Sam (Sinclair) as options," says Taurua
Under Taurua Folau has been an unstoppable force of accuracy slipping twice from eight outtings to under 80 percent.
Folau's confidence on the shot from anywhere in the circle can lift
spirits on court and Taurua wants to build on that strength with
Ameliaranne Ekenasio as her understudy to create the ultimate mobile
duo, volume of ball is key here.
Rising wing attack Whitney Souness has put her hand up as a worthy
candidate here. After serving 37 minutes she emerged as the sides top
ball receiver and feeder (watch this space).
"When they had ball in hand their shooting percentages were high against
England... we'll have to see if Maia (Wilson) will get on court but it
will be great to build on Ameliaranne and the combination with Maria,"
Taurua admits that while they strive to put structures in place, after
only five months as coach they aren't yet strong enough to rely on and
most of planning is based on what their opponents will bring.
"We do more analysis on the opposition, we're not really at a stage
where our own strategy is strong enough or the consistency in the type
of game we want to play," says Taurua
"Analysis here has been minimal not to the level we would normally do it
and because of that the focus is trying to get our performance better."
"With Bassett not there, the only probable bonus is Australia missing
that height but in saying that her replacement (Kiera Austin) is very
"With Australia just because one is not there though doesn't dilute what they can actually do."
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