Taumaunu errs in taking foot off Aussie throats

PETER JONES
Last updated 14:40 27/09/2012

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I expected more from Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu.

Known in her playing days as a hard-nosed defender, and now with a reputation as a no-nonsense coach, Taumaunu had a chance to inflict some serious psychological damage on her Aussie opponents last weekend, but took her foot off their throat.

After the Diamonds had bounced back on Sunday, winning the third test in the series by six goals, a decisive margin in the recent history of trans-Tasman clashes, Taumaunu said: "I just think we made some poor decisions."

She was referring to the muddled performance by her charges on court but she could have applied the same criticism to herself and her fellow selectors.

OK, Maria Tutaia was injured and needed to be replaced, but why go with Jodi Brown? She had been off the international scene since 2007 and had just returned to top level netball with the Steel.

Surely Cathrine Latu would have been a better option if the coach was determined to shut the Aussies out completely.

Latu certainly added some spark when finally getting some court time late in the third test.

Taumaunu also replaced Anna Harrison, a success at wing defence in the first two tests, with rookie Kayla Cullen. Obviously young players must be tried and new combinations tested, but I would argue that Australian v NZ tests are not the place for that sort of experimentation. Games between the two best sides on the planet are there to be won.

The Diamonds, instead of being sent home with their collective tails between their legs, will have gained plenty of confidence (something they're not usually short on) from the second part of the Constellation Cup series. They will quickly recall their stunning comeback in the second test and compelling win in the third when looking for positives heading into the Quad Series next month.

Despite losing the silverware, in some ways they may have ended up taking more out of this series than the winning combination.

Hopefully it's a lesson learnt. As they say, never give a sucker a break - especially if they are wearing green and gold.

Over the past week there has been two notable additions to Marlborough's sporting nursery.

On Thursday Colin and Keryn Wood welcomed daughter Jorgia into the world. Colin, selector/coach of the Marlborough cricket team over the past two seasons, and a longtime wicketkeeper/batsman for the rep side, also played rugby for Harlequins and Marlborough while Keryn is a talented hockey player for Beawai and Marlborough.

At the weekend Cedric Hiller and partner Kahlia Hutchison also produced a daughter, named Ayla.

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Again, the parents have a rich sporting pedigree. Cedric, a talented outside back for the Marlborough Boys' College First XV and Harlequins, represented the Red Devils last season before being injured against Japan B. Kahlia is a former senior rep hockey captain who led the side to a national division one title in 2010.

The future is in good hands.

- The Marlborough Express

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