Silver Ferns using Games defeat as motivation

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 13:10 08/08/2014
Waimarama Taumaunu
Fairfax NZ
CALLING THE SHOTS: Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu.

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It will be a while before Waimarama Taumaunu wakes up without 58-40 suddenly popping into her head.

The Silver Ferns coach arrived back from the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday night still reeling from her team's 18-goal defeat to Australia in netball's gold medal match.

New Zealand were always likely to lose to the Diamonds, but no-one predicted a complete capitulation. Least of all Taumaunu.

''When I reflect back on it, I guess the silver [medal] was something that was always a possibility, but the worst part of it was the manner in which it was achieved. So the poor quality, particularly of that second half, is something that will take a long time to get over,'' Taumaunu told Fairfax this morning.

Injuries to key shooters Cathrine Latu and Maria Tutaia left the Silver Ferns particularly vulnerable going into the final.

Fellow shooter Jodi Brown was running on fumes, while defender Joline Henry played with a finger so badly dislocated it had punctured the skin and needed stitches.

If Taumaunu wanted to blame external factors and pretend the defeat wasn't as bad as it looked, she could. She didn't.

''I'm not going to make excuses. I had hoped we would get past the circumstances, tough though they were, and I certainly hope that the scoreline won't be repeated.

''When I look back I think we could all cope with the silver medal. It's the margin and the poor quality of play at the end of that game that isn't going to go away in a short time. In terms of my memory, when I reflect back, it'll be that that I remember the most unfortunately.''

The plan is for that to be motivation, rather than a millstone. Taumaunu and her fellow national selectors met yesterday to discuss October's Constellation Cup series with the Diamonds and two tests against England.

The coach is certain she took the best 12 players she had to Glasgow. The question now is whether she still rates them that highly?

Taumaunu hinted that changes could be made, primarily at the shooting end, following next month's national trials.

The Silver Ferns have just under a year before the World Cup in Sydney and, aside from deciding which players are up to it ability-wise, athleticism must become a consideration too.

Australia's players are leaner, stronger and faster than the Ferns and that was evident in the Commonwealth Games final. 

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