New Zealand's Maria Folau retires from netball

By Sports Desk December 17, 2019

Maria Folau's retirement from netball was not influenced by her husband Israel Folau's legal dispute with Rugby Australia (RA), says New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua.

The 32-year-old Silver Ferns star will bow out after a 150-Test career spanning 14 years.

She departs as one of the finest shooters the sport has seen, but the glare of the spotlight is likely to remain upon her family.

Israel Folau and RA reached a confidential settlement earlier this month after the former Wallabies star and devout Christian was sacked for posting social media posts which said hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" on Instagram. He had been warned over previous online posts in 2018.

"I knew the end was near," Taurua said of Maria Folau, as quoted by Stuff.co.nz. "It was just about waiting for Maria to make that final decision that she actually was retiring. I didn't know when that date was, but I knew it was coming closer.

"Anytime she was with us, and leading into the Netball World Cup and the Constellation Cup, she was 100 per cent committed and focused to do what she needed to do.

"Even though there was a lot of things that were happening personally, she never let on about anything."

Taura added: "For me, that marked her professionalism and her commitment to upholding the mana of the black dress. That was something we were working towards as a team.

"I'm really grateful that even though there were a lot of things happening in her life that she committed to that as well."

Maria Folau won two Commonwealth Games gold medals, netting the winning goal in sudden-death extra time to seal Commonwealth glory in 2010.

New Zealand's success at the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool proved her swansong.

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