Taurua set to take Sunshine Coast to netball playoffs

By Eru Paranihi

Former New Zealand netball coach Noeline Taurua is set to take The Sunshine Coast Lightning into the playoffs of the Australian competition Suncorp Super Netball in their first season. Taurua is also the only New Zealander to win the now defunct ANZ Championship.

In just under a year, Noeline Taurua has taken the Sunshine Coast Lighting from newbies to title contenders.

Taurua says, “When I first came there was absolutely nothing here and to be able to get a club going, get the events get the media marketing plus also the personnel involved has been a huge step and quite challenging. I think we're just starting to hit our straps out on [the] court.”

 Her current squad is also made up of players from outside of Australia which also include captain Geva Mentor from England and Karla Mostert from South Africa. However, there are no plans of shoulder tapping more New Zealand players.

“I suppose our focus is being able to build or develop Australian players coming through and get the talent up to play for the Diamonds.”

Her side is bolstered by two former Waikato Bay Of Plenty Magic players Erena Mikaere and Laura Langman, who were part of the winning team in 2012. Mikaere says that nothing has changed about Taurua.

“A lot of our [pieces of] trainings are similar. I don't wanna say she's gone a little soft, but we haven't died as much as we have in 2012,” says Mikaere.  

The Ngāpuhi descendant is content with the laid-back environment of USC stadium, where the Lightning is based. This is a place that has also seen her grow as a coach.

“As I've gotten older I've become more relaxed about my own style and where I sit in my own philosophies and become more confident in myself. Like the landscape of being a coach, it's about looking to be better.”

There are no immediate plans for a shift back to New Zealand for Taurua, however, a Suncorp Super Netball title would be a nice legacy to leave behind at The Sunshine Coast.