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New Zealand coach hails big-game player Maria Folau

New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua has hailed the mental strength of Maria Folau after she played a starring role in her side's Netball World Cup final win over Australia.

Folau put the drama surrounding her husband Israel's legal row with Rugby Australia, following his sacking for his religiously motivated anti-gay comments on his social media platforms, behind her to help the Silver Ferns to a nail-biting 52-51 victory in Liverpool.

The 32-year-old veteran goal shooter converted 28 of her 35 shots and held her nerve in a dramatic final quarter, converting two clutch opportunities as Australia staged a dramatic fightback having hauled in a seven-point deficit.

"She's a big game breaker and a big-game player as we all know," said Taurua.

"She has been consistent in her ability to perform no matter what.

"Today is probably one of those days again where she has shone out there, which is expected I suppose because that's what we're used to from her."

Folau refused to speak to the media after her side's win at the M&S Bank Arena as has the former Wallaby, who has been present in the crowd all week.

Taurua said her players had made a pact at the start of the tournament to stand by Folau after her husband admitted recently the bitter dispute with his former employers had taken its toll on his wife.

"We are so happy she is part of our team and one of the things we are about is looking after one another on and off the court," Taurua said.

"I think like anybody when things start happening personally there is going to be a lot of emotion.

"We discussed it as a team and said we would support her knowing how much value she has to us as a Silver Fern.

"She is one in a million, no-one plays netball like her or can shoot like her and we have bonded around each other and trained hard.

"She has been a real trooper."