It’s overwhelming … we are very proud. —Silver Ferns Coach, Noeline Taurua
by Roger Childs
They had the self belief, the motivation and above all the skills and fitness to win the Netball World Cup for 2019. No-one will remember 49-50 loss in the round-robin match, just the 52-51 victory in the final. Huge credit must go to Coach Noeline Taurua — she left New Zealand for Liverpool convinced that the Silver Ferns could take the trophy after two years of up and down performances, including failing to make the final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
A great tournament
There has been plenty of quality netball at this superbly organised tournament, but there was criticism that there were too many of the sixteen countries playing who were not up to standard. However, where better to improve your game than playing against the best? Rugby fans may remember back to June 1997 when the All Blacks ran up 93 points against the Pumas at Athletic Park in Wellington. However, the Argentine side have come a long way since then and almost beat beat the New Zealanders in Buenos Aries last Saturday.
Twists and turns
The Silver Ferns has a one goal lead at half time in the final, and pushed this out to seven goals in the third quarter, but the Diamonds roared back to close to one goal early in the final quarter with two excellent intercepts. The Silver Ferns will recall being beaten by the never-say-die Aussies more than once, on a mistake or missed goal at the death. In the round robin clash a draw seemed certain when the normally reliable Maria Falou’s final shot was too low and hit the rim.
Close to the end of the final the Ferns had a three goal lead, but a turn over brought the Diamonds back to one goal down. However the Kiwis held their nerve and are now the 2019 World Champions. It was great to see them proudly singing the national anthem on top of the podium.
This was true team effort and all the players performed superbly. Maria Falou and Ameliaranne Ekenasio shot the 52 goals but could only do that with excellent work down court to feed them the ball.
There was little separating the Diamonds, Roses and Silver Ferns in the tournament, but this time the Kiwi won through – a fantastic effort.