Taurua backs Ferns to rule Quad Nations
Outgoing assistant coach Noeline Taurua thinks the Silver Ferns will go into next month's Quad Nations tournament as hot favourites.
Taurua has finished her brief turn on Waimarama Taumaunu's assistant coach merry-go-round but has seen enough to think the first Quad Nations trophy will join the Constellation Cup in New Zealand.
With four frontliners missing from the Australian lineup, Taurua - the trans-Tasman competition-winning coach with the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic - believes the Ferns' old foes are there for the taking.
The world championship Australian side will be without match-turning defender Sharni Layton (shoulder), Julie Corletto (knee), Natalie Medhurst (foot) and Laura Geitz (rested) for the series that includes England and South Africa.
"That's a lot of firepower for them to be without," Taurua said. "We'd like to think we'd definitely be favourites now.
"Remember, there was no Maria Tutaia [in Sunday's game], Casey Williams didn't play all series and Cat Latu played just one quarter."
Taurua said being able to blood a couple of players and develop combinations in the final test on Sunday also helped the Silver Ferns.
"And winning that first match in Australia was a big thing for us too, that helps mentally," she said.
Australian coach Lisa Alexander is likely to bring in Susan Pratley and Susan Fuhrmann as cover.
The Australians showed in Sunday's 59-53 win how good they could be with experience stuck on the bench.
Catherine Cox, Mo'onia Gerrard and Natalie von Bertouch, who were not used in the dead rubber, have 271 test caps between them.
Taurua said the mental edge of knowing the Australians were missing four strong players would likely help.
"It's just little things like that, that can make a big difference. It can give you that little bit more confidence and in Australia-New Zealand games, that could be the difference," she said.
Taurua said the Silver Ferns were much fitter, stronger and mentally tougher this season but, more importantly, their belief was well up.
That belief is obviously overflowing to the coaches, too.
"We just know that if we play the type of netball we want to play, and have shown we can play at times, more consistently, we could be unbeatable," Taurua said.
Both sides play South Africa and England before they meet again on October 21 in Sydney.
The top two teams in the world then meet again on November 1 in what will likely be a Quad Nations decider in Hamilton.
New Zealand's first game is against South Africa on October 14 in Adelaide.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Did you watch the test match?Related story: 'I'm just watching the test match'