NETBALL: Lightning's coach Noeline Taurua.
NETBALL: Lightning's coach Noeline Taurua. Patrick Woods

Taurua backs her ability after tactics questioned

NETBALL: Sunshine Coast Lightning coach Noeline Taurua will head into tonight's blockbuster clash with Collingwood fully confident in her tactical ability, after it was brought into question this week.

Former champion netballer and respected commentator Liz Ellis wrote in Fairfax media that coaches' calls can 'make or break a game'.

She said the tactical changes made by Taurua and Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald was where last week's thriller at Sippy Downs was won and lost.

Taurua made a raft of changes at half-time, most notably when the returning Stephanie Wood was benched for Cara Koenen and tall defender Erena Mikaere was subbed-off for Maddy McAuliffe, forcing Karla Mostert to wing defence.

Liz Ellis is visiting the Capricorn Coast.
Photo Contributed
Liz Ellis is visiting the Capricorn Coast. Photo Contributed Contributed

Lightning took a four-goal lead into half-time, but went to the three-quarter break down and lost its first game of the season in a nail-biter.

Taurua said she had always planned to tinker with the line-ups in the opening four rounds and had now nailed down the combinations she hoped to use in the future.

"Everything is going according to plan,” she said.

"At the end of the day, (the comments) doesn't really worry me to be honest.

"The good thing is we played Giants, Firebirds, some of the big teams and everybody has been given an opportunity.

The new Sunshine Coast netball team has been announced. The Lightning coach Noeline Taurua with M'Lea Michael, Paige Francis and Kate Ward.   Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
The new Sunshine Coast netball team has been announced. The Lightning coach Noeline Taurua with M'Lea Michael, Paige Francis and Kate Ward. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily John McCutcheon

"I know now what to expect from (the players) and what the unit will look like going forward.”

Taurua's now looking forward to the next challenge - facing the pre-Super Netball favourites in-front of a heaving crowd in Brisbane.

"They're a class act,” Taurua said.

"We're relishing the opportunity to play Collingwood, to better ourselves and play a top team. This is what it's all about. The pressure is going to be on out there and it's really exciting.”

Mikaere, who was named in the Round 4 Team of the Week, is ultra-wary of the challenge the star-studded Magpies will bring to Brisbane.

Erena Mikaere from  the Sunshine Coast Lightning helps launch the Festival of Sport.
Erena Mikaere from the Sunshine Coast Lightning helps launch the Festival of Sport. Warren Lynam

Goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites hit top-gear at the right time last week to help her side down Adelaide by 19 goals, the biggest winning margin recorded this season.

"Thwaites has been strong and is always a strong player, it will be something that challenges us,” Mikaere said.

Add in the likes of Magpies dynamos Madi Robinson, Sharni Layton and Kim Ravaillion, up against Lightning's Steph Wood, Laura Langman and Caitlin Bassett and you've got yourself the potential for a second thriller in two weeks.

IN TRAINING: Erena Mikaere chest passes to an open Steph Wood.
IN TRAINING: Erena Mikaere chest passes to an open Steph Wood. Paul Smith

"They've got amazing players and have turned that into a team game now,” Mikaere said.

"They'll be up on a high (after beating Adelaide by 19 goals) they had massive defensive combinations there and were strong at that end.

"We're coming off a one-point loss and need to work hard.”



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