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Dame Noeline Taurua on what it was like to be overlooked for Silver Ferns job three times
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Dame Noeline Taurua on what it was like to be overlooked for Silver Ferns job three times

The current NZ national team coach says she did her groundwork before she heard back from selectors.

Dame Noeline Taurua has lifted the lid on the experience of being rejected three times for the Silver Ferns coaching role before finally landing the country’s top netball job.

In the latest episode of Rova podcast 'Grey Areas with Petra Bagust', Dame Noeline revealed she had made peace with being overlooked for the job before she heard back – so by the time interviewers delivered the bad news, she was “absolutely fine with it”.

She says going into her third Silver Ferns coach interview in 2015, she was aware she had a choice between telling the Netball New Zealand interview panel “what you think they want to hear” or “what you want to say”.

“And it's actually a fine line, you know what I mean? Because you’ve got to be smart about these things and also know where the organisation wants to go and that sort of thing,” she told Petra.

“But I thought going into the interview ‘Right, they’ve got to know who I am’. And if I get the job, they’ve got to know where and how I'm going to take it forward – in my way.

“And if they don't, that’s absolutely fine, because obviously I'm not the right person for the job or what the organisation want.”

SOURCE: Stephanie Soh Lavemaau

In the end, Taurua didn’t even make the two-person shortlist for the top job.

Janine Southby would be appointed, then sacked less than three years later after a string of poor results, while Taurua went on to coach the Sunshine Coast Lightning to back-to-back national titles in Australia.

But despite their contrasting fortunes, Taurua never had any regrets about her approach to the interview or about losing out on the role.

“You think about those grounded feelings – at that moment in time, [I knew] that's what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. So I was actually at peace knowing that I didn't get the job, because it was their choice and I was absolutely fine with it.

“So probably the peace was that I was really happy that I had done my groundwork prior to the interview. Sometimes my mouth goes, and I’m immediately like ‘I didn’t get the job, woe is me’. But it didn't even come into my thinking.”

In 2018, Taurua did get the Silver Ferns coaching job – and success soon followed.

In 2019, she coached New Zealand to a dramatic World Cup triumph over Australia, then broke a nine-year drought to win the 2021 Constellation Cup. She also took the Silver Ferns to bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Taurua told 'Grey Areas' the success of her Silver Ferns team lies in how players are encouraged to be individuals, their understanding of the history of the black dress, a strong team culture, and the knowledge they’re in a safe environment.

SOURCE: Stephanie Soh Lavemaau

“They belong to something bigger than themselves. And I think when you can get into that space, man, they can move. They'll move heaven and earth to be themselves and to give themselves – and that's always the best.”

Listen to 'Grey Areas' on rova, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you find your podcasts.