Netball World Champions the Silver Ferns were the stars of the recent Halberg Awards where they were honoured with Team of the Year and the Supreme Award. The team was recognised for their incredible triumph in Liverpool in 2019, where they edged Australia to take the World Cup for the first time since 2003 with a final score of 52 – 51.
The New Zealand team was a rank underdog going into the competition, and the world’s attention was focussed on the Australian team, the Diamonds, who were three-time defending champions, and the hosts, England’s own Vitality Roses, who won Gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Held on the Gold Coast, this was the nadir for the Silver Ferns who lost four times, listing a first-ever defeat to Malawi among these, and got hammered by a goal margin of 21 by the Diamonds.
But Dame Noeline Taurua, the coach newly appointed in August 2018, managed to engineer a terrific turnaround. She rebuilt the team’s belief in themselves and their new confidence was largely responsible for their incredible victory in July last year.
Their triumph at the Halbergs saw them topping many other strong team performances, including those of the Black Caps, the Black Ferns Sevens, and the Women’s Eight and Women’s Double Rowing Crews. Taurua’s work was also recognised and she was named Coach of the Year, edging out a strong field of finalists including Eugene Bareman for MMA, Gary Hay for Rowing, Gordon Walker for Canoe Racing, and Roly Crichton for Para-Swimming.
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