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Netball: When will 'learnings' become 'winnings' for Silver Ferns?

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 10/01/2019 Stephen Hewson, Sports Editor, stephen.hewson@radionz.co.nz

Noeline Taurua © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Noeline Taurua There will be 'learnings' aplenty no doubt. But will there be 'winnings'?

Coach speak in all sport these days talks about the 'learnings' a player and a team can take from losses - I'm not sure what happened to lessons - but anyway there's been plenty of 'learnings' for the Silver Ferns and coach Noelene Taurua in recent times.

Since the dumping of former coach Janine Southby in the wake of the disappointing Commonwealth Games campaign the Silver Ferns have played seven tests under new coach Noeline Taurua.

But there have been just two wins - one against South Africa and one against Australia.

Four losses to Australia and one to England has been a sobering introduction for Taurua in top job.

But it's not something she's not shying away.

Rightly or wrongly she's dropped former captain Katrina Rore nee Grant for the Quad series but Taurua has shown she's not afraid to make tough decisions.

The Silver Ferns get a shot at redeeming themselves after losing to England 52-39 in September when they play them first up in the Quad series in Liverpool on Monday morning.

Two wins from three games is the target Taurua has set.

And its wins the Silver Ferns desperately need to boost not only their self confidence but also to show they will be a force come the World Cup in July.

According to the world rankings New Zealand are second, behind Australia with Jamaica third and England fourth.

Currently though the Silver Ferns are living off the success of previous years - based on the past 12 months England are much better than fourth - remember they managed to pip Australia on the Gold Coast to win the Commonwealth Games gold medal and they will be a force when they get to host this year's World Cup.

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But back to what Taurua wants from the upcoming Quad series.

"We need to squeeze as much as we can out of these next two weeks...and we need to put our dominance out there, show some real big presence and make it look like we actually know what we are doing. So if we can do that I will be happy."

She's also comfortable with the timing of the tournament.

"It's really good for us. We will get a better gauge as to where we are - how far or close we are from the opposition but also knowing we have until July to do something about it."

Australia Diamonds vs New Zealand Silver Ferns at TSB Arena on October 18, 2018 © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Australia Diamonds vs New Zealand Silver Ferns at TSB Arena on October 18, 2018

Should the Silver Ferns fail to chalk up a win over England or Australia and comfortably account for South Africa the doubts though will remain.

"We've got to start to learn from things - which we haven't been doing in the past....so we should know what to expect (from the likes of England), we should know what the feel is, we should know what level of intensity we need to take into that game and if we are not learning these things then we are never going to learn them.

"If we don't (win two out of three games) we will have to go away and lick our wounds and see what to do for the next stage but we have got to be more forceful than what we have been in the past and I think the learning is now over for us and we have to make it happen."

Taurua believes they were undone by the physicality of England the last time the two sides met particularly in the shooting circle where they were only had a 60 per cent success rate.

"Our shooters have got to be able to handle that physicality - turn and put the shot up. So if we can make ground there and get our shooting percentages up I will be really happy," she said.

"Defensively too I really want to put some defensive pressure on (the England shooters)."

"I'm not expecting people to go from zero to hero because that is unrealistic...but at the end of the tournament players have got to be putting their hand up saying 'pick me.'"

The Silver Ferns have certainly been taught a few lessons over the past year and the results show they have struggled to actually learn anything from them.

Look at the Quad series as the mock exams. Another poor result here and you can all but give up on turning things around come the finals - the World Cup.

Silver Ferns schedule:

v England, January 14 at 7am (NZT), Liverpool

v Australian Diamonds, January 20 at 5:30am (NZT), London

v South Africa Proteas, January 21 at 4:30am (NZT), London

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