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Dame Noeline Taurua outlines how sitting courtside at ANZ Premiership helps Silver Ferns' selection strategy

Silver Ferns' coach Dame Noeline Taurua says sitting courtside at ANZ Premiership games has helped her and assistant coach Debbie Fuller assess players before selection.

Source: 1 NEWS

By Bridget Tunnicliffe for rnz.co.nz

Speaking to Extra Time, a podcast by RNZ, Stuff, and LockerRoom, Dame Noeline said she was pleased with the overall form of players at the half-way mark of the domestic competition.

She joined RNZ's Bridget Tunnicliffe, Stuff sports journalist Brendon Egan, LockerRoom editor Suzanne McFadden, and former Silver Fern Joan Hodson.

"Overall really happy. I think we've got 34 in both squads [the current Silver Ferns and Development Squad] and there's only three or four now who haven't met the fitness criteria in comparison to nearly a half when I first went in," said Dame Noeline.

"I think they're looking fantastic, very athletic and we look like high performance athletes and I think the quality of the matches are starting to show that as well."

Dame Noeline and Fuller have supported a number of the coaches on the sideline since the resumption of the league.

She said they had been able to get a good feel for the players prior to selection.

"Can hear what the instruction is from the coaches and then how the players can actually go out and execute or not. And really get a good indication through hands on of how close they are to international standards or not."

Dame Noeline had been impressed with a number of players.

"Sulu [Fitzpatrick] I think has been doing a tremendous job and holding up the back. With Aliyah [Dunn] as well I feel that her game has improved from last year, her availability on the ball has definitely taken another notch up and of course Ameliaranne [Ekenasio] who I think at the moment is a star out there."

The wider squad will be announced on the 25th of August, two days after the ANZ grand final.

"So the Silver Ferns' squad and the Silver Ferns' Development Squad as well. We can have between 16 to 18 on the Silver Ferns squad."

Dame Noeline said she wants to tighten the numbers brought into the Development Squad.

"We've usually had about 17 in the Development Squad ...but I really want to integrate the two squads as much as possible. Some of those ones that may be on the verge, may not be 100 percent ready but I want to bring them in to the mix of the Silver Ferns' squad as much as possible.

"At the moment my intention is probably to name roughly around 10 - those ones that I know that I might be able to push and also look to bring in to our programme as much as possible."

Dame Noeline said it would be interesting to see how the Diamonds' players transition when they come out of Australia's Suncorp Super Netball competition, where they are implementing the 2-point shot.

"They're not long bomb specialists ...only time will tell as to what they look like when they do come into the international arena. Hopefully it creates a bit of confusion if I'm going to be honest but also the offset might be a positive for them ...there might be some upside that comes out of the two-point shot and the confidence [they gain] around that."