After a long and rigorous think, Noeline Taurua has finally decided she still has more to offer the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.
Taurua was yesterday reappointed as coach of the trans-Tasman netball league's defending champions, on a one-year deal, where she hopes to build an even stronger and more ruthless team.
And by her side in next year's competition will be former Silver Fern Tanya Dearns, who has been recruited as an assistant coach.
This year the Magic went without an assistant in a bid to save money, however, one of Taurua's directives to being reappointed was to have another coach on hand.
"That's one of the things I needed as an individual and the franchise were happy to support me in that," Taurua said. "It allows me to change the dynamics and the chemistry of the team."
Dearns, who grew up in Bay of Plenty, coached Wellington about a decade ago before taking charge of the Eastern NPC team then becoming the regional manager, before going on to be general manager of the Napier Golf Club.
Despite not being directly involved in netball for a while, Dearns has been one of the people Taurua contacts at various times in and out of the season.
"She's got a big presence, and defence is her forte," said Taurua, who is looking for her assistant to complement what the franchise already has.
"Tanya, herself, when she was a player, just the whole intimidation factor that she brought to any team was definitely a bonus."
Meanwhile, Taurua's reappointment continues the trend of all five of the competition's successful coaches returning the following season.
But after the Magic's fairytale finish to this year's campaign it was never a given that she would come back after 10 years at the helm.
"It's an interesting scenario because when you do lose you know, definitely, the areas that you need to improve on and the next stepping stone after them," Taurua said.
"We sort of conquered a lot of stuff that we needed to improve on in 2012, so for that reason I had to really sit back and think: ‘can I actually improve the team, can I improve players within the team and take them forward?' So that was actually a longer practice than it's ever been."
Taurua reached her verdict by talking with a lot of the players and her mentors, and her decision was also delayed somewhat by her involvement as Silver Ferns assistant coach for the Constellation Cup series.
Next year a permanent Ferns assistant is set to be announced and Taurua said depending on when that job comes up, she may still be interested, if it comes after her Magic commitments.
For now she is excited in regards to planning for the Magic and is looking at setting the bar for the team higher.
"This year we brought in a performance and a winning culture to the Magic and I would probably rate us as about a six out of 10," she said in terms of how the team upheld their standards like nutrition, hydration, fitness and conditioning.
"Also [we] really want to look at our Magic product that's out on court, see if we can take the game to another level, or do something a bit different."
And having signed on, Taurua was confident her senior players would follow suit.
"I'm pretty confident, even before we go into contracting, the communication I have with those girls is definitely a priority," she said. "The intention is definitely there for them to return to Magic, however it's not guaranteed until they sign on the dotted line."
Trials for the Magic squad take place on Saturday in Tauranga, with the final squad to be named on November 12.
Magic chief executive Sheryl Dawson said the franchise will be contracting their full allocation of 14 players allowed under the new playing agreement.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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