Martin Devlin: The Silver Ferns won't win the World Cup

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Friday, 24 May 2019, 2:24PM


I hope I'm wrong but the Silver Ferns will not win the world champs.

Now it's not very often that I'd ever say that out loud and in public but this time I want to be wrong. I want the Silver Ferns to win I just don't think they will - and for good reason.

The squad announced for Liverpool has a very much been there but not done that look about it. Chock full of experience, sure, but also seriously lacking proven winners. At the very highest level we consistently come up short.

Since last year's disastrous Commonwealth Games we've played Australia 5 times winning just once. To prepare for this event our players have been hard out competing in our domestic comp - and that's where the major problem begins.

Despite the national association and all associated paid cheerleaders assuring us the standard here is at least equivalent to what we see from across the Tasman, sit down watch the two comps in comparison for a few minutes and see for yourself.

Quite clearly it's not. None of our teams ever won their competition, in fact we were mostly always outclassed. And since NNZ's genius move to withdraw all teams from it, we now only play among ourselves.

How is that meant to make us stronger again? Because when it comes to the international game most recent results suggest the divide between our countries is now bigger than ever - and this without even mentioning the other omnipresent threats of England, Jamaica and (Lord help us not again) Malawi.

Noeline Taurua as coach has everything to prove here. All the correct and appropriate buzz words, clichés and PR guff constantly tells us this squad is more than capable.

"The girls are all feeling great" says Noeline, "the culture has improved out of sight" and "the players are really expressing themselves".

What on earth does any of that actually mean though?  What can these players offer that we haven't already seen - form which we already also know not to be good enough in either their domestic comp or on the international stage?

Hard-nose bitterly competitive hate-to-lose net ballers are what we need.

Does this squad shout that out? In my opinion, no.

Of the three major world championships NZ sides compete for this calendar year, and by that I mean cricket netball and rugby, the Silver Ferns have the least hope.

I'm not being pessimistic just realistic.

And as I said right at the start of this column I genuinely hope to be proved wrong.

But if that's the case it'll be the first time it's happened... today.


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