Having twice declined the opportunity to be part of the Silver Ferns' rolling assistant coach auditions, Noeline Taurua couldn't turn down a third invitation.
The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic coach will join the Silver Ferns for September's three-match Constellation Cup series against Australia, in a repeat of the role she performed back in October.
New Zealand play nine tests this year, with head coach Waimarama Taumaunu to be joined by Southern Steel co-coach Janine Southby and then Northern Mystics assistant Gail Parata during the two legs of the Quad Series with Australia, England and South Africa.
Mystics head coach Debbie Fuller will then assist Taumaunu with the FastNet Ferns, during November's World Netball Series.
The interesting appointment is that of Taurua who, during last year's Constellation Cup and then once the team returned home, said she did not want to do the job again.
But this latest offer was one Taurua decided she couldn't refuse.
"The timing is good because it doesn't clash with any of the Magic stuff, in regard to recruitment and selection, and it [September] is usually my down time anyway," Taurua said.
"Also the short term of it means I'll only be away from home for five days [for a training camp] and then a 12-day stint when we go over to Oz. The third thing was that I really enjoy working with Wai and the New Zealand-Australia thing is really good stuff and I know I would enjoy it."
Taumaunu and her fellow selectors will name "16-18" players to attend a week-long camp in Auckland, starting on August 13, where they'll be joined by the seven-strong national accelerant group.
Twelve players will then be picked to meet Australia in the first test of the year, on September 16.
By and large, Taumaunu has a good idea who that eventual 12 will be. "The incumbent defenders, I'm really pleased with them. Little light in the midcourt but there's been some growth, particularly in Camilla Lees, and I thought Grace Rasmussen came into the game [for the Mystics against the Magic] really well the other day and Anna Thompson's getting more time at wing attack.
"In terms of shooting accuracy, you can't really go past Cat [Latu] and Irene [van Dyk]. I'm generally optimistic and delighted that we've now got two teams back in the [trans-Tasman] top four."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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