Taumaunu sends clear message for NZ trials

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 06/07/2013
Waimarama Taumaunu
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
CLEAN SWEEP: There is still plenty to improve on for Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu.

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Several Silver Ferns are on notice, a month out from the national trials.

Coach Waimarama Taumaunu will name between 21 and 25 players for the August 5-9 camp, a number of whom only have modest trans-Tasman Netball League campaigns behind them.

"Indeed. And they know who they are and they know what they have to prove too," Taumaunu said yesterday.

"I've kept in touch with them throughout the ANZ Championship and obviously not wanting to distract people but having some constructive conversations and talking about aspects of their on-court and off-court performance that we might need to think about and I will be meeting with most of them this month to do that."

You don't have to be Einstein to work out that players like the Northern Mystics shooting duo of Maria Tutaia and Cathrine Latu need to show some better form at the trials and probably team-mate Kayla Cullen too. It's hard to know what to make of shooter Jodi Brown's season for the Southern Steel, given she barely put up a shot, while the Central Pulse's Joline Henry will need to demonstrate she's fit enough for the rigours of international netball.

Taumaunu was adamant Cullen still has a bright future as an international centre, despite the Mystics trying and discarding her from that spot. But she wants to see how how Cullen and company go in a different environment, after being left "bemused" by the Mystics' season.

"I thought that front end should have held up better and it didn't. Having said that, I think people were trying very hard. I don't think that anyone could fault them for a lack of effort and we discovered Bailey Mes' ability to really stand up [as a shooter] and it's very sad to hear she's now injured."

Henry and Pulse team-mates Liana Leota and Donna Wilkins had until last night to send letters of intent to Taumaunu. She wanted the trio, who all have children, to make a declaration of their availability before she picked them.

Taumaunu is certain, even without a letter, that Henry wants to play but was less sure about the other two. "I think they're more likely to [just] play franchise, if that makes sense. I think the international commitment is a big one," she said.

Leota and Wilkins playing franchise netball would be a boon for the Pulse, who are desperate for the pair to return next year. Leota has gone back to England, where her husband plays rugby, and they are expected to reach a decision on what her netball plans are.

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- The Dominion Post

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