Lightning head coach Noeline Taurua is to part ways with the club. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Wainwright
Lightning head coach Noeline Taurua is to part ways with the club. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Wainwright

Super coach set to exit Lightning

NETBALL super coach Noeline Taurua will step down as Sunshine Coast Lightning coach at the end of the Super Netball season.

Taurua, who has led the Lightning to back-to-back titles and has them on target for a third successive crown, will be replaced by her current assistant coach, Kylee Byrne.

"For family reasons, I have made the difficult decision that it is time for me to step back from full time coaching duties at Lightning and return home to New Zealand," said Taurua, who coached the Silver Ferns to World Cup glory this year.

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"My family and I have had the most amazing time living on the Sunshine Coast and being part of the Lightning family, but now feels like the right time.

"I am truly honoured and thankful to Lightning, our wonderful family of partners and the Sunshine Coast community.

"It has given me the opportunity to coach some of the best netballers in the world, to witness the growth and development of players who are stars in the game, as well as the next generation coming through.

"I've had the privilege of working and teach from our support staff who are the best in their chosen fields and have been part of a tight knit club whose staff members are always willing to go above and beyond.

Noeline Taurua is much loved on the Sunshine coach. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Noeline Taurua is much loved on the Sunshine coach. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

"As a collective, what we have gone on to achieve has far exceeded my expectations and dreams."

Lightning CEO Danielle Smith thanked Taurua for her impact on and off court.

"As Lightning's inaugural coach she has played a pivotal role in shaping the foundations of our club and leaves an indelible legacy for our future," Smith said.

"Leading the club to back-to-back premierships in our first two seasons was obviously an outstanding achievement, but it is also her endearing personality and warmth with our fans and the community that has further enriched our club.

"We wish Noels and her family the very best in the next chapter of their lives."

Byrne, who is also coach of the Australian under-21 team, said working with Taurua had been "an honour and an opportunity that I will be eternally grateful for".

"We are a better place and better people from having Noels with us, but now wish her every happiness in the next phase of her life," Byrne said.

"We still have work to do but there will be a little bit of extra motivation this year to finish the job."