Lightning coach leaves with no regrets

Coach Noeline Taurua will leave a lasting legacy at the Lightning.
Coach Noeline Taurua will leave a lasting legacy at the Lightning.

Even in defeat, departing Sunshine Coast Lightning coach Noeline Taurua had a parting gift for her club.

The New Zealand coach predicted the playing group she built would rebound with an even greater appetite for premiership success after the Lightning's 64-47 Super Netball grand final loss to the NSW Swifts.

"I'm actually quite all right about it. I thought I might have been a bumbling mess but I feel quite strong about the club and I feel satisfied, to be honest," Taurua said.

"Yes, we didn't come out with it. But the grand final loss was a blessing in disguise because I think they'll come back hungrier."

The defeat, in front of 7760 people at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, was the Lightning's heaviest loss in their three-year history.

Assistant coach Kylee Byrne will take over next year from Taurua who will return home to New Zealand for family reasons.

Taurua leaves the club having re-signed all its players but captain Laura Langman, and built a winning culture around the club.

She turned young, and fringe, players into premiership stars and internationals.

And it must surely be a matter of time before shooter Cara Koenen earns a Test promotion.

"It's been absolutely wonderful. We couldn't have asked for a better foundation to be laid," Langman said of the Taurua legacy.

"What I love, probably without even knowing it, she set the level of expectation for those that are at Lightning, that's the bare minimum."

Victorious coach Briony Akle also lauded the Taurua effect on Australian netball.

"That's one person I looked at and I just admire her," Akle said.

"She's done great things for netball just in general - not just here, but obviously winning that world championship, but she produces great people and teams.

"We look at her and say thank you to the contribution she's given SSN here and we wish her all the best."

Australian Associated Press