The Melbourne Storm have signed New Zealand netball coach Noeline Taurua to lead their inaugural team in Australia's new domestic competition next year.
Taurua will leave the Southern Steel to take up the position as coach of the Sunshine Coast franchise - a team that is being backed by NRL giant - Melbourne Storm and the University of the Sunshine Coast.
The loss of New Zealand's most successful ANZ Championship coach, who was overlooked last year for the Silver Ferns job, will be a big blow to netball administrators here, as they try to launch their own domestic league.
There is already uncertainty whether Silver Ferns star Laura Langman will return to play in New Zealand next year and rumours are growing that Maria Tutaia will head over the ditch to play in a league that is intent on becoming the showpiece of netball.
The Sunshine Coast team, whose name is yet to be revealed, is one of three new franchises that will compete in Australia's new elite netball competition from 2017.
Taurua remains the only coach to lead a New Zealand side to an ANZ Championship title when she was in charge of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in 2012. The team made the finals series in each of the six years she was there.
Taurua claimed the minor premiership in her first season with the Southern Steel this year, with an unbeaten record in the regular season.
Melbourne Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy said it was a big coup for the club to secure her for two years.
"To have someone of Noeline's standing and success. With 16 years high performance experience to lead our inaugural team, she was the right person for the job.
"With Noeline's appointment the team will now commence player recruitment as part of the free agency period as we look to assemble an exciting and talented squad for the upcoming season."
The former Silver Fern, who was in hot demand around the world at the conclusion of the final ANZ Championship season, said the opportunity was perfect timing for her.
"Having been involved in the ANZ Championship for nine years, the time was ripe for change and a new challenge," said Taurua.
"Coaching overseas has always been one of my goals. The timing was perfect to be part of a new venture and new era for netball.
"It doesn't get any more exciting than moving to a new country to coach a brand new team in a ground-breaking competition."
Netball New Zealand has acknowledged announced Taurua's departure is a bit of a blow.
But its high performance manager Steve Lancaster said the door will be left open for her to return when her new job is up.
"We would have loved it if Noeline coached in New Zealand next year but the door's absolutely not closed to her.
"She'll go away and become a better coach in Australia I'm sure and hopefully she'll bring that knowledge and experience back to New Zealand at some point," he said
The appointment is being seen as an important step in attracting champion players to the new Australian team.