New coach keen to leave her mark
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 5:43p.m.
By Greg Pearson
The Silver Ferns are back on court next month, starting a busy international season with a three-test series for the Constellation Cup against Australia.
After four seasons as assistant, it's the first full season in charge for coach Waimarama Taumaunu, who's keen to imprint her identity on the team.
Trials have been a thing of the past for the Silver Ferns, but it's all part of the new regime of coach Taumaunu.
Assistant to Ruth Aitken from 2008, Taumaunu took over the reigns as head coach late last season, and now it's time to find her new team.
"I think it's important to have competition for people to realise there's good players around the country, and to have competition for the places in this team," she says.
"It's an honour to be picked for the Silver Ferns, and I think we want to create some hard work before they walk in there."
The biggest opportunities will be in the midcourt, where the Ferns are now without the retired Temepara George, while Joline Henry is on maternity leave.
But the new coach isn't restricting the possibility of new faces to the middle third.
"Incumbents can't come here and be comfortable, because the rationale behind inviting some of these new younger ones is to put real pressure on the incumbents and to test them, and to see whether or not what you see when people are playing for different teams when they come and play in the same conditions as one another – whether or not that quality stands up."
It's a style the players appreciate.
"I think she's very direct, very simple, but knows what she wants and how it's going to happen, which is awesome – we love the direction," says Casey Williams.
Taumaunu has a fully fit complement of players to select from, that is until Katrina Grant copped a no-look Catherine Latu pass in the face in today's trial.
"No, she's good," says Williams. "I think she would've just laughed it off, she might have a bit of a fat cheek but it just goes to show how competitive it is here and nobody's going to back out of it – and that's just the way we want it."
The trials continue through the week before Taumaunu names her team on Monday.
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