Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic coach Noeline Taurua was “the glue that held things together” during the ANZ Championship, according to the team’s players.
Following four consecutive losses at the beginning of the season, Noeline embarked on a new course of action, which saw the Magic stop worrying about the outcome and focus solely on the task at hand.
Players say this plan, coupled with Noeline’s creative streak, was a decisive factor behind the Magic’s breakthrough win in the trans-Tasman grand final at the weekend.
Magic captain Laura Langman says Noeline is the backbone of the Magic franchise.
“This is a massive result for Noels. No campaign is the same from her, she continues to be innovative and we finally got the recipe right.”
Noeline says in some ways, the 12-week crusade of just getting her team, against all odds, to the grand-final, was sweeter than lifting the trophy itself.
“I’m really proud and that’s because of the journey we’ve been on.
“To win the ANZ Championship is obviously the pinnacle of the season and we are measured by where we are placed on the table. However, for this team, what we’ve been through is the real highlight.
“How the girls have held themselves and the character that they have shown, that’s an equal, if not, better feeling.”
After opening their campaign with a losing streak, the mother of five’s credentials were widely criticised. But on court, the dramatic change of mind-set was there for all to see, the team going on to produce a better brand of netball than in the past four years.
“Team culture and our family values have always been one of Magic’s strengths, but that doesn’t win you games,” says Noeline.
“A performance and winning culture had to be introduced into that mix.”
After five years in the hot seat of the semi-professional era, Noeline says her accumulated experience was put to good use in what was probably her most difficult season.
“At times it was bloody hard and I wouldn’t recommend it. But I knew how it was going to be from the start and that was incorporated into our season plan.
“In some ways, it was probably one of the things that made us special and really tight as a team unit because we all had to share the load.”
“Maybe two or three years ago criticism did affect me but it doesn’t anymore.
“It has been said that it takes 10,000 hours to be a master of what you do and this is my tenth year, so I think it’s just been learning from all the experiences I’ve had and that I was really clear about the planning and what I wanted to do this year and really went out to make that happen.”