New Highlanders coach Tony Brown joins Silver Ferns camp

  • 29/10/2020

New Highlanders coach Tony Brown has embedded himself in the Silver Ferns to learn some of the methods coach Dame Noeline Taurua has used to transform her side 

Dame Noeline took the reins after the Silver Ferns' 2018 Commonwealth Games capitulation - in which they failed to medal for the first time -  to lift them to World Cup winners just a year later.

Brown is hoping to take some of those lessons back to the Highlanders, after their disappointing Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign.

"The environment with Noeline and [assistant] Deb [Fuller], they’ve made a massive improvement over the last two years," Brown tells Stuff. 

"I'm here to learn how they’ve done that and what I can learn to take to my environment with the Highlanders."

"I don't think too many coaches have made this kind of improvement in any sport.

"There had to be something pretty huge around changing the environment, changing the culture, and creating a high performance environment.

"I'm here to try to find out what that was and how they operate."

Last month, Brown was promoted from assistant to head coach of the Dunedin-based side, after Aaron Mauger was let go.

Despite showing signs of improvement on their way to a fourth-place finish, the Highlanders brass opted to go in a different direction in a bid to return the team to the heights of its 2015 title triumph.

On Wednesday, Brown was sideline at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton for the Silver Ferns' first-test win against England, where he witnessed first-hand Dame Noeline's unique communication style.

"I was very impressed with the physicality and speed, what's required on the netball court… that was an eye-opener for me," Brown tells Stuff.  "Watching on TV, you don't really see the physical side."

"They're always straight [with the feedback]... especially with Noeline in charge, because everyone knows what's required. It's always black and white."