Netball NZ making huge mistake by barring Laura Langman, says Noeline Taurua

Noeline Taurua achieved instant success at the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
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Noeline Taurua achieved instant success at the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Championship-winning coach Noeline Taurua says Netball NZ has made a big mistake in barring Laura Langman from the Silver Ferns.

In an interview on Trackside Radio on Tuesday, Taurua says there's not enough depth in New Zealand to fill the void left by a player of Langman's quality, adding that Langman deserves more respect.

"I believe they have [made a mistake]," said Taurua, who last weekend guided the Sunshine Coast Lightning to glory in the Australian netball competition.

"Sometimes I do take the PC line, but I know her value and I know a lot of other people do," Taurua told Trackside Radio.

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"They haven't taken into account her as a person, she's getting older and as you do, you've got to be challenged.

"There's never been any doubt about why she's does it, it's about wearing the Silver Fern, to be better and play as best as she can.

"There is also a level of respect you earn and she's played 141 consecutive tests."

Langman wasn't allowed to play for the Silver Ferns last year, because she signed with the NSW Swifts and Netball NZ insisted only players plying their trade for New Zealand teams would be eligible for the national team.

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That ban is set to continue in the Silver Ferns' test programme this year.

"There's a level of respect that needs to come back around and you also have to treat people in the manner you want to be treated," Taurua said.

"I suppose they're still asking themselves questions and it's not a done deal, but time will tell whether they see her positively.

"But I don't think in New Zealand we've got the supply and demand as they have over here of quality players.

"I'd like to hope we can take all the quality players we possibly can and the Australians support her more than her own at home."

Taurua, who has been controversially overlooked to be Silver Ferns coach a number of times, believed her face didn't fit at Netball New Zealand, so chose to take up the job as head coach at the Lightning.

She showed her ability as a coach by taking the fledgling team to the title this season.

Taurua says she's committed to staying with the Lightning next year but is unsure what lies ahead after that.

Taurua took what could be described as a dig at the ANZ Premiership and, in particular, the Northern Mystics, who suffered a shock loss to the Tactix on Sunday when their season was on the line.

"The game where Tactix beat the Mystics at the weekend, for me that's quite crazy," she said.

"You don't have teams like that and you don't take it for granted that you're going to win every week.

"Consistent performances are what make champion teams and the work that happens during the week, not relying on talent.

"That's one of the things that sticking out to me when I observe from afar, how inconsistent it is over there."

Working on the other side of the Tasman, Taurua says she's been impressed with the drive and openness there is in netball in Australia.

"The level of intensity is unreal," she said.

"Even though I've been able to observe it from being involved in the Trans-Tasman Cup last year, I've never felt it to this extreme.

"I love it, you either perform or you don't and anything less than your best is not accepted over here.

"I love the challenges of being able to front up every week and being open and honest if you don't."

 - Stuff

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