Taurua appointment not a done deal: NNZ

Noeline Taurua.
Noeline Taurua.
Netball New Zealand insist Noeline Taurua's appointment as the next Silver Ferns coach is not a done deal.

Despite reports suggesting Taurua has been hand-picked for the role, Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie yesterday said the national body had a shortlist of candidates for the position vacated by Janine Southby last month.

"We've just got a group of potential candidates that we're speaking with," Wyllie said at the naming of the Silver Ferns squad for the coming international season.

"We have some really good candidates in the mix, it's obviously a really important process for Netball NZ, we must get this one right and it remains confidential but we have some really good people that we're speaking with."

Taurua, who was overlooked as head coach in 2015, has been heavily linked to the role since Southby quit, in the immediate aftermatch of a review following the Ferns' disastrous Commonwealth Games campaign in April.

Silver Ferns legends Laura Langman and Casey Kopua, who were named to make their return to the national side yesterday, both have a strong relationship with Taurua from her time coaching the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic, and it is believed their return to the fold is linked to Taurua getting the job.

Recent reports have indicated that Taurua has already agreed terms with Netball NZ, and that the extended playoff run of her Sunshine Coast Lightning in Australia's Super Netball is the only reason she hasn't officially been announced yet.

The Gold Coast-based franchise take on the Sydney Giants this weekend as they eye a spot in the grand final on August 26.

Wyllie wouldn't disclose whether Netball NZ had been in contact with Taurua or how many candidates were in the mix but assured that a coach would be named before September 10.

If Taurua has come to an agreement with Netball NZ, as expected, it's likely the Kiwi coach will return to New Zealand just in time for the Silver Ferns' Quad Series in September.

"As in any employment process there's a number of steps you've got to go through to make sure you've got the right candidate and it's really important that we do take the time," Wyllie said.

"We can put an interim coach in if that's required, ideally you want to have a head coach ... but it takes time to get the right person in there.

"We need to be able to maintain confidentiality with the people that are in the process but we're really excited about the people that we are speaking with."

While the respective returns of Langman and Kopua were the highlights of the Ferns squad, Kopua's foot injury means only Langman will play in next month's Quad Series, while three players will make their debut.

Karin Burger, Elisapeta Toeava and Aliyah Dunn all received the call-up, with Burger and the 18-year-old Dunn featuring strongly for the Central Pulse, while Toeava stood out in the Northern Mystics midcourt.

Steel midcourter Gina Crampton also gained a recall after missing out on selection for the Commonwealth Games with experienced midcourters Shannon Francois and Grace Kara the most high profile casualties.

The Ferns will face Commonwealth Games gold medallists England in Auckland on September 15 in their first match of the Quad Series.

2018/2019 Squad: Karin Burger, Gina Crampton, Aliyah Dunn, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Temalisi Fakahokotau, Maria Folau, Katrina Grant, Kelly Jury, Casey Kopua, Laura Langman, Bailey Mes, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Sam Sinclair, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, Elisapeta Toeava, Jane Watson, Maia Wilson.

- Cheree Kinnear

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