In the span of 15 months, the Silver Ferns have gone from one of their darkest days to biggest triumphs.
How they got from fourth at the Commonwealth Games to today’s World Cup win is nothing short of a Hollywood-esque tale involving a new coach, some old faces and a resurrected environment.
Here’s how the Silver Ferns conquered the world in little over a year:
April 15, 2018: Silver Ferns lose bronze medal match at Commonwealth Games
Plenty of tears, plenty of questions as the Silver Ferns miss out on a medal with their 60-55 loss to Jamaica. A week earlier, they suffered their first ever defeat to Malawi as well. The team leave the Gold Coast Games knowing changes are coming.
May 7, 2018: Panel named to conduct review of Commonwealth Games failure
A three-member panel is named to look at what went wrong on the Gold Coast. It would later be revealed players said in the review they entered the tournament lacking confidence in their coaching staff and themselves.
July 20, 2018: Janine Southby quits as Silver Ferns coach
Southby walks away from the role after a horror 2018, saying she takes full responsibility for the team’s results. Netball NZ immediately begin search for new coach with Quad Series fast approaching in September. Everyone has one person’s name on their mind…
August 30, 2018: Noeline Taurua appointed new Silver Ferns coach
After missing out on the job to Southby three years earlier and heading offshore to guide the Sunshine Coast Lightning to back-to-back titles in Australia’s Super Netball League, Taurua is given the reins of the national outfit.
September 11, 2018: Casey Kopua, Laura Langman return to the Silver Ferns, Katrina Rore dropped
Kopua comes out of retirement and Langman is finally handed an exemption from Netball NZ’s selection policy for playing in Australia. The duo are named in the Quad Series squad, where Taurua will make her debut. Rore misses selection after tough Commonwealth Games campaign.
September 15, 2018: Silver Ferns play their first game under Taurua, losing to England
Fans are given a rough reminder the transition under Taurua will take time with a 52-39 loss to Commonwealth Games champions England. But hope is there following a 61-37 win against South Africa three days later and hard-fought 60-55 loss to Australia.
October 14, 2018: Silver Ferns beat Australia for the first time in 13 months
With the Diamonds holding a 2-0 lead in the Constellation Cup series, the Silver Ferns dig deep to claim a 55-44 win in Hamilton. They’d lose the final match 58-47 but, once again, there’s signs the team are on the rise.
January 21, 2019: Silver Ferns beat South Africa to wrap up another tough Quad Series
It took a double overtime but the New Zealand side get the job done, winning 62-60. Teammates agree to “stay in touch” during domestic season to keep developing winning culture Taurua’s trying to implement.
March 18, 2019: Silver Ferns announce match against NZ Men’s team in World Cup warm-up
Netball NZ announce the match as well as two others against Fiji and ANZ Premiership All Stars. While Silver Ferns have played the men in the past, it’s the first time they’ll play them on national TV.
May 23, 2019: Katrina Rore returns to Silver Ferns as final 12-strong squad named for World Cup
Rore returns but punters scratch their heads about some other selections. Taurua states she was looking for “passion, fight, fortitude, tenacity and work ethic” when selecting. Fitness also seen as a key factor with gruelling schedule ahead.
June 25, 2019: Katrina Rore is ruled out of Silver Ferns’ warm-ups before departure for World Cup
Rore suffers a calf injury, leaving questions over her availability for the World Cup. Taurua says management will give her “every opportunity” to recover in time. Michaela Sokolich-Beatson called in as cover.
June 29, 2019: Silver Ferns wrap up warm-ups with loses to NZ Men
The team dispatch the All Stars and Fiji easily enough but NZ Men are a different story. Still, the Silver Ferns put up a good fight and head for the UK confident they’ve built a team that can contest the World Cup.
July 11, 2019: Silver Ferns enter World Cup with a “P.U.R.E” mindset
Noeline Taurua has the team focused on playing P.U.R.E – P for ‘play to win’, U for united, R for ruthless and E for explosive. It’s the driving force and mantra for the team’s campaign as they prepare for eight games over the next 10 days.
July 12, 2019: Silver Ferns open World Cup with dominant win over Malawi
Silver Ferns prove they're a different side from the one at the Commonwealth Games with a 64-45 win over Malawi. They would ride that wave for the next four games, with wins over Singapore, Barbados, Zimbabwe and Northern Ireland.
July 18, 2019: Silver Ferns lose to Australia for World Cup semi-finals seeding
The Silver Ferns lose a one-goal thriller against their old rivals, despite trailing by as many as nine goals midway through the third quarter. The result sets up a do-or-die clash with hosts and Commonwealth Games champions England.
July 21, 2019: Silver Ferns stun England to reach World Cup final
The Silver Ferns topple England 47-45 to punch their ticket to the final. The two sides trad leads until Amelianne Ekenasio shows composure and locks down the game with some sharpshooting in the final moments. A rematch with Australia is later confirmed with their win over South Africa.
July 22, 2019: Silver Ferns win the Netball World Cup
Noeline Taurua’s culture shines as the Silver Ferns build a lead over the first three quarters and fend off a late Aussie comeback to win 52-51. It ends a 16-year World Cup title drought and erases the tears and questions of 2018. New Zealand are back on top.