The Magic have opted for the tried and true approach in their quest for back-to-back trans-Tasman league titles by naming Laura Langman as captain for a fourth successive year.
Coach Noeline Taurua has decided that a fresh approach wasn't required for the ANZ Championship title holders.
"Nothing needs to change," Taurua said.
"One thing we know about Laura is that she always leads from the front, and the standards that she sets herself, not only within the team but also as an individual are outstanding."
Silver Ferns skipper Casey Kopua (nee Williams) will again be the vice-captain.
"Then it's making sure that we create the environment that not only the leaders or the senior players but others have the voice to speak, so very aware of that," Taurua said.
Langman is quick to echo those sentiments, wanting to spread the load around the Magic's key old heads.
"And I say this every year, but we're really fortunate in this environment we have lots of leaders in all of our areas, so that's pretty much how we like to run things," said Langman, who will take care of the midcourt, with Irene van Dyk effectively in charge of the shooters and Kopua and Leana de Bruin the leaders of the defensive end.
Langman said her captaincy style probably wouldn't change much this season, but was intent on encouraging everyone to step up and be a leader in their own right.
"Because I think, man, if you've got seven leaders out on court, that's a pretty strong seven to come up against.
"So that's where we want to get to. We really encourage lots of internal competition and challenging and feedback to one another, and that's progressing really nicely."
Meanwhile, Langman said the team had gone back to square one and weren't hanging onto last year's breakthrough success.
"We've let it go to be honest. I think it was one of those ‘yep tick the box' type achievements. This is a new year, new group, we've got new expectations and new milestones that we want to achieve. I don't think it's in the forefront, if anything, I think it's given us a licence to be a little bit free.
"I think what we learnt from last year is the benchmark always changes.
"The year the Firebirds went unbeaten, last year we lost our first four games, still made the final and won. So anything's possible. We've learnt that each season you can rewrite your own story."
- Waikato Times
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