Taurua committed to Lightning

Noeline Taurua.
Noeline Taurua.
Noeline Taurua has no plans to leave the Sunshine Coast Lightning, but that's unlikely to stop her from being unveiled as Silver Ferns coach.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Taurua — who is expected to be named as the 11th Ferns coach in the next two weeks — insisted she would remain at the helm of the Australian club after the Suncorp Super Netball grand final on Sunday.

Despite Netball New Zealand's insistence that it has a shortlist of several "strong candidates" for the job, Taurua is understood to have already agreed terms with the governing body to replace Southby, who quit last month after a review into the team's dismal showing at the Commonwealth Games highlighted a lack of direction and leadership.

However, when asked about her immediate coaching future at a press conference in Australia yesterday, Taurua reassured her loyalty to the Lightning.

"I'm really focused and committed to [the] Sunshine Coast Lightning, not only this season but also 2019," said Taurua, who is contracted with the club until the end of the 2019 season.

"I really take the responsibility on without being half-hearted and really want to finish our season off well, so for that to happen you've got to be fully committed in what you're doing."

If Taurua were to come to an agreement with Netball NZ to coach both the Ferns and the Lightning, it would be a first for the national side. But with no other Kiwi coaches boasting a record quite like Taurua's, it's a strong possibility which could work.

Netball Australia confirmed earlier this year that the start of the 2019 Super Netball competition would be pushed back to allow players to compete in the Netball World Cup next July.

The later start for the Lightning's 2019 season would see Taurua available for the Ferns' upcoming Quad Series, Constellation Cup, and World Cup campaigns without any clashes.

The return of veterans Laura Langman and Casey Kopua to the Ferns squad for the upcoming international season after a number of years on the sideline, is believed to be a strong indication of Taurua's imminent appointment.

The experienced Kiwi coach formed strong relationships with the pair during her time as Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic coach from 2002-2003 and 2005-2013.

Netball NZ assured that the new head coach would be named before September 10, but if Taurua is indeed at the top of the list, the announcement could be made next week at the conclusion of the Lightning's season.

The Sunshine Coast-based side's prolonged finals run is understood to be the reason for the delay with Taurua wary of having the Silver Ferns appointment become a distraction for her and the team.

Meanwhile, Adelaide Thunderbirds assistant coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson is tipped to coach under Taurua with the Ferns.

The Lightning will play the West Coast Fever in Sunday's decider.

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