Constellation Cup 2021: Second-half dominance vindicates Dame Noeline Taurua's fitness fixation

If Silver Ferns coach Dane Noeline Taurua ever needed vindication of her tough fitness standards - and she didn't - Constellation Cup dominance has surely provided that.

For the second time in as many days, the master coach watched her charges lag through the opening two quarters against archrivals Australia and then completely overwhelm them down the stretch.

Across the four-test series, New Zealand won seven of the eight quarters after halftime, outscoring the Diamonds 100-79.

Even in their solitary loss, they enjoyed a 20-15 advantage after the break, but couldn't dig themselves out of a 15-goal hole.

By the end of the week, the Ferns knew they only had to be close and their physical conditioning would bring them home.

That was a mentality that began on day one of the campaign, when Dame Noeline infamously sent home five squad members - including incumbents Kelly Jury and Te Paea Selby-Rickit - for failing their fitness tests.

"I like to think that's been a positive, and everyone sees how fit we are and we're able to create momentum as a game goes on," Taurua tells Newshub.

"I think that's definitely a bonus for the players at this stage and we've set the bar high."

Another encouraging aspect of the series result, which broke a 12-year trans-Tasman drought for the Ferns, was the continued development of a new wave of players to international ranks.

Only reserve shooter Bayley Mes had survived from the last NZ team to lift the Constellation Cup in 2012, and this was the first series without any of the self-proclaimed 'Fossils' that carried them to World Cup triumph two years ago.

Former captain Laura Langman, Casey Kopua and Maria Folau have all retired, while Katrina Rore is pregnant with her first child.

"It's been absolutely exciting," says Dame Noeline. "One of the objectives of the series was about building the depth and we got 14 people out there.

"We're building towards Commonwealth Games and the worlds in 2023, and for them to get court-time against the world No.1 is brilliant and great for their development.

"We're taking away from the brilliance of the 'Fossils', but there's a new class of players coming through."