Fear-free Ferns begin World Cup quest
Intention rather than execution will be the focus for the Silver Ferns as they open their netball World Cup campaign against Barbados on Friday.
The New Zealanders have two low-key pool matches, the second against Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, before they run smack into defending champions Australia on Sunday.
The new tournament format, with 16 teams split into four groups, means the result of that match won’t define the success – or otherwise – of the Silver Ferns’ campaign to win their first world title since 2003.
“It’s been interesting. In the past, you largely had to go through unbeaten to make the finals and that’s not the case now,” Taumaunu said.
“In many ways, we’re quite pleased to get an early look and see what they’re like. The result is not going to be the defining moment as to whether we make finals.”
With that in mind, Taumaunu says she expects her team to continue developing the fearless approach they’ve been working on.
“We’re going to have to do it, retain that wider vision and largeness of spirit that we’re trying to cultivate on court.
“It’s about looking long, staying upright and having the courage to let the ball go.”
Driving the new approach has been a revamped shooting circle, where established players Maria Tutaia and Jodi Brown have been joined by mobile, athletic and unpredictable newcomers Bailey Mes and Malia Paseka.
Taumaunu says it will take time for understanding to develop between the shooting circle and the midcourt, but the Silver Ferns’ first two pool matches offer the opportunity to set a benchmark for the future.
Mistakes will happen but Taumaunu says part of the New Zealanders’ new approach is not being afraid to keep trying.
“Often it’s about execution. I think we’re making really good decisions but sometimes we’re not executing them as well as we could.
“That’s often about misunderstanding between people but they are trying and we will continue to persevere with that.”