Netball: Dame Noeline Taurua backs deposed Australian rival Lisa Alexander


New Zealand's newly anointed Coach of the Year - Silver Ferns mentor Dame Noeline Taurua - has some sympathy for her ousted Australian counterpart.

Netball Australia chose not to extend Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander's contract, after a two-year period in which she lost to the Commonwealth Games title to England and the World Cup title to the Dame Noeline's Silver Ferns in a closely fought final.

Taurua says Alexander's treatment showed how cut-throat Australian sport can be.

Alexander was the most-capped Diamonds head coach of all time, guiding them on 102 occasions over more than eight years and maintaining the  No.1 world ranking since 2011.

She led the team to gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 Netball World Cup, and silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2019 Netball World Cup.

"I consider her as a world-class coach, and can only give full support and accolades to coaches who survive this environment," Taurua says.

"It's probably just a shame or maybe shows it can be quite fickle. For a lot of other countries, one point [loss in World Cup final] is actually being successful, but not in their country."

Taurua extended her contract with Netball New Zealand until February 2021, after a successful stint coaching in the Australian domestic netball competition.

"Times are changing over in Australia, and it'll be interesting to see as to who is now coming through and the pathways that they'll have taken to get to the head coach role," Taurua said.

Netball Australia will begin recruitment for the next Diamonds coach in early March and Taurua has identified some potential candidates to fill the role.

"There's quite a few who have been around probably as long as I have - [Melbourne Vixens] Simone McKinnis is probably the first one that comes to mind, Julie Fitzgerald is another person that has huge experience, Jane Woodlands-Thompson is another person - so they do have depth of coaches over there and it's just whether they are willing to be head coach for Diamonds."

Alexander will coach the Diamonds for the last time on March 1 in a bushfire-relief charity match.

The Silver Ferns and the Australian Diamonds will meet later this year in the Constellation Cup.