Netball: Dame Noeline Taurua endorses Israel Adesanya's 'tall poppy' attack

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua has endorsed the "tall poppy" attack by UFC star Israel Adesanya at the Halberg Awards.

While the netballers dominated Thursday's annual awards ceremony, claiming Team of the Year and the Supreme Award, Adesanya stole the show with his pointed comments on New Zealand's obsession for putting successful people down

Accepting the Sportsman of the Year trophy, Adesanya seemed hesitant to talk about the issue at first, but eventually relented, ripping into a tirade that stunned the Spark Arena audience.

Speaking to The AM Show, Dame Noeline, who won Coach of the Year and the Sport NZ Leadership Award, felt Kiwis needed to start backing themselves on the world stage, if they wanted to be successful. 

"I was in Australia for three years and they don't take a backwards step in terms of celebrating everything they do," she told The AM Show. "We do take the humble one that's part of our DNA.

Dame Noeline agreed that self-effacing approach tended to hold Kiwi achievers back. 

"We have to be happy with what we do - the expectation is high, but we need to back ourselves."  

The Ferns headed Adesanya for the Supreme Halberg award and Dame Noeline felt the award was the perfect climax to a successful year. 

Their 52-51 win over Australia in the Netball World Cup final last July also won the Sports Moment of the Year award, determined by public vote. 

The Silver Ferns with the Supreme Halberg Award.
The Silver Ferns with the Supreme Halberg Award. Photo credit: Photosport

The Silver Ferns previously won the Supreme Award in 2003, after their triumph in Jamaica. They missed out in 1987, despite winning the World Cup in Scotland, with the All Blacks receiving the top award. 

Winning the grand prize was extra special for the Ferns, considering they finished a disappointing fourth at the Commonwealth Games 12 months earlier. 

"For us to be involved, it has been a long time between drinks," Taurua added. "It's very humbling - 2003 was the last time and it's fantastic for the sport.

"New Zealanders like a good story and we certainly have one in regards to where we came from at the Commonwealth Games and everything in between.

"Lots of people were slaughtered and it was very brutal."

After taking out last month's Nations Cup tournament in England, the Ferns are not back on the court again until October, when they face Australia in the annual Constellation Cup series. 

Taurua is desperate for New Zealand to claim the trophy, which they've only held once in 2012. 

"We haven't been able to back up from one game to another, so it is a change of mindset we need to take. 

"If we can do the little things year-by-year, we should be amazing."