Netball New Zealand happy with communication channels with players

Changing of the guard? Cathrine Tuivaiti, left, shares a word with Central Pulse teenager Tiana Metuarau this season.
Hagen Hopkins

Changing of the guard? Cathrine Tuivaiti, left, shares a word with Central Pulse teenager Tiana Metuarau this season.

Netball New Zealand have defended their lines of communication with elite players in the wake of Cathrine Tuivaiti's fiery outburst.

Tuivaiti, who played the last of her 24 tests for the Silver Ferns in 2014, blasted NNZ in an interview with Radio Sport on Thursday.

The 30-year-old, who signed with the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Australia's Super Netball competition for 2018, was angered she never received any word from NNZ after being overlooked from the Silver Ferns' list of 25 triallists last month.

Cathrine Tuivaiti of the Pulse, left, and Steel's Jane Watson jostle for possession this season.
Hagen Hopkins

Cathrine Tuivaiti of the Pulse, left, and Steel's Jane Watson jostle for possession this season.

Tuivaiti, the most accurate shooter in the national premiership - 483/509 (95 per cent) with the Central Pulse, also sounded of at NNZ for being omitted because of supposed "off the court" issues.

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"What disappoints the hell out of me is that I've had no communication. I've had no reason," Tuivaiti told Radio Sport.

"To read that there were some off-court issues makes me out to be a bad guy. Yes, I have a foul mouth, but I'm a good person and I do as much as I can for my team-mates and for my country, of late. 

NNZ head of high performance Keir Hansen was satisfied with their systems around communication with elite netballers.

Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby and her support staff met with players and franchises both in person and remotely throughout the national premiership season. They were also in regular contact with franchise coaches.

"We hope and think those communication structures keep the players pretty well informed about where they're at," Hansen said.

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The door was always open for players to get in contact with Southby and her coaching team if they required further feedback.

Southby didn't personally ring around every elite netballer who had missed trials, but Hansen said "Janine would be happy to talk to any player after that time and explain why those decisions were made".

It seems baffling Tuivaiti didn't consult Silver Ferns' assistant Yvette McCausland-Durie, who was her coach at the Pulse. Hansen pointed out because of her Pulse connections, McCausland-Durie wasn't part of the triallist selection panel and didn't have a say.

"Yvette and Janine have to keep a clear line between the role of the Pulse and with New Zealand."

As for Tuivaiti's "off the court issues", Hansen clarified it related to a "whole lot of stuff" with strength and conditioning being a major factor.

It is understood Tuivaiti has been given ample instructions around areas of her game she needed to improve on to gain a Silver Ferns trial, but failed to reach those targets.

The Silver Ferns have high standards around strength and conditioning and Tuivaiti is believed to have fallen short compared to other shooters in the country.

"Off court covers a number of things. Conditioning, we're really clear on what our standards are and what our expectations are around how the players need to present if they're going to be competitive and if we're going to be competitive at an international level," Hansen said.

"We know that's an area as a group we need to be really, really strong in if we want to compete and beat Australia consistently."

Having last played for the Silver Ferns three years ago, the national selectors have clearly cast an eye to the future with Tuivaiti overtaken by several younger shooters.

New Zealand under-21 members, Pulse teenager Tiana Metuarau, Magic's Monica Falkner and Stars' goal shoot Maia Wilson, who has played five tests already, were all awarded trial spots, which will be held in Auckland over July 31-August 4. 

Stuff understands there were also concerns over Tuivaiti's shooting volume, sometimes being outshot by Pulse goal attack Metuarau, her ability to cope with leading Australian defenders and a lack of variety in her shooting game.

Hansen didn't think Tuivaiti's situation had raised shortcomings in NNZ's communication channels with players. He said they were always willing to take on learnings to help their programme function more effectively.

"We work really hard on it and do our very best to keep the players really aware of expectations and standards and how they're tracking."

 - Stuff


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