Big changes ahead of de Bruin in Waikato
A change in lifestyle is number one reason for Leana de Bruin's move back to the Waikato for the next netball season.
In the middle of the move from Auckland to her and husband Quinton's lifestyle block between Hamilton and Cambridge yesterday, de Bruin said she was excited about the move back to the franchise she last played in in 2004.
"The move is because it was time for a change for us again and with things changing in the Mystics and us enjoying the property market we wanted to come back to Waikato," she said.
Before the naysayers come out having a go at the Magic for stealing the best talent in the country, it was de Bruin who contacted the Magic about making the switch south after things turned pear-shaped with the Northern Mystics franchise.
The Times has also been told de Bruin is friends with unwanted Mystics coach Yvonne Willering.
De Bruin, 31, said joining a side who finished second in the inaugural ANZ Championship and one that is packed full of talent, "was just a bonus" and lifestyle was the main reason, but she had had other options.
The former South African international, who has 34 caps for South Africa and 33 for New Zealand, will be joining a crowded Magic defensive circle with Casey Williams and Silver Fern wider squad member Jodi Tod.
"I'm always looking for a challenge and I think it brings the best out of me," de Bruin said.
Rotation and a more balanced workload look to be more likely from Magic coach Noeline Taurua than last year when two players did not take the court once.
And a team get used to the tenacious services of someone like Casey Williams at the back, so to have a spare goal keep of such class who can also start at goal defence will play a major part in the Magic's title hopes.
Taurua said that was part of the reason having de Bruin was such a major plus for the Magic, but she also gave the side different options at the back of the court and her ability to play both defensive positions could allow her to try the experiment a number of people are predicting with Williams out at goal defence.
"In last year's ANZ Leana was one of the most consistent performers in the competition," Taurua said.
"She created a lot of turnover ball and she's also had a lot of experience at Silver Fern level and experience with the Magic before, so she is a great addition to our side."
De Bruin is looking forward to reuniting with several her Silver Fern buddies and thinks the added time together can only help the side.
"Take this year as an example, at the Mystics we could only build combinations quite late and it makes a big difference."