How Byrne Earned Taurua’s Respect From Day One

Admirers of Noeline Taurua often cite one of her strengths as being one (or three) steps ahead of the rest of the world in her thinking.

Whether it be strategic manoeuvres on court, in bringing her team on a journey that resulted in back-to-back premierships… or, it seems, in determining her successor at Sunshine Coast Lightning.

This week, current Assistant Coach Kylee Byrne was named as the next leader of Lightning. It may have come as ‘news’ to fans but to Taurua it has been part of her thinking since she first moved across the ditch.

“When we first met, I got a good feel about [Kylee]. She’s a Head Coach in her own right, and that’s what I wanted,” Taurua said.

“I wanted to be able to work with a Head Coach who can stand up and be really strong on her own opinions and what she wants to do but also for us to be able to challenge each other – and for that you need a person that has been there, done that.”

The idea of becoming Head Coach of Lightning has been firmly in Byrne’s line of sight in recent years, and now that the time has come, it’s an honour that she is not taking lightly.

“What I’m most excited about next year is just building on what we’ve done,” Byrne said.

Sunshine Coast Lightning v Firebirds

“It still seems so new and that we’re just starting, and that’s good to say after three years, that we’ve had success but there’s so many other different areas we can go to and just build on.

“It is something that I’ve always aspired to be and ever since I stepped foot in Lightning and wore the colours for the first time and coached in the first game with Noels – I knew it was something that I wanted to do and that I’d always been planning.”

The collaborative coaching approach between Noeline and Kylee has taught both individuals a lot about netball and themselves as individuals but it’s also served as a strong grounding for Kylee to build on in 2020 and beyond.

“Over the three years I’ve been storing bits of information, thinking how I’d do it if I had the name of Head Coach next to me – it has been something I have been working towards, and plus, I don’t want to be anywhere else and I can’t see myself anywhere else.

“This is where I want to be and Lightning is a place like I’ve never ever been in before, so to be able to contribute to that success that we’ve built in three years is huge.”

Watch Sunshine Coast Lightning take on Adelaide Thunderbirds on TelstraTV or the Netball Live app on Saturday 24 August from 7pm.