Laura Langman has confirmed she is leaving the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic and will play for the Northern Mystics in next year's trans-Tasman netball league
The vastly experienced midcourter has been with the Magic since she made her debut as a school girl in 2003 and has racked up an amazing 90 consecutive tests for the Silver Ferns.
Rumours surfaced near the end of this season's Magic campaign about the possibility of senior players leaving the franchise, following the departure of long-time coach Noeline Taurua.
Langman had been linked to the Auckland side and it turns out that's where she will head - commuting for games and training while still living in Hamilton with her fiancé.
"I'm Waikato born and bred and that's where my family is and that's where a lot of long-standing team-mates had been. But at the end of the day I had to look at my objectives that I want to tick off over the next wee while for netball, and I felt Mystics was a good match for that.
"I think the Mystics provides me with a good opportunity to expand my leadership development. Obviously I won't be in a formal role at all up there regarding leadership so it's a great opportunity to develop another aspect to that, learning how to lead when you're not necessarily in a leadership position, so I think that's quite exciting."
Langman also wants to develop her defensive game and thinks that Mystics coach Debbie Fuller will be able to help her drive that.
"Nothing against [new Magic coach] Julie Fitzgerald, I think when I spoke to her I was extremely excited about her ideas and where she wanted to take Magic and I think she's going to be awesome for our franchise, but in terms of my game I felt Debbie was going to satisfy that better."
Surprisingly, the 27-year-old was not courted by the other franchises, instead just deciding that the Mystics would be the best fit.
Langman felt Taurua's departure "possibly did allow" her to spread her wings but that new personnel at the Magic hadn't driven her to go elsewhere - even after board member John Parker had told her she only has a couple of years left in the sport.
"By no means did any of the management that were appointed in Magic or the personnel at Magic have any influence on my decision. It was purely based on professional development for myself and what I wanted to achieve over the next few years.
Her announcement coincides with this week's appointment of Margaret Forsyth as Magic assistant coach and Langman admitted that if incumbent Tanya Dearns had been retained she may have stayed.
"It could have been a possibility, to be honest. But, with me, I don't do things by halves and when I made my decision that I was going to take on this challenge and move, it was a pretty dynamic process so it happened rather quickly."
Langman told her team-mates of her decision to move during the week and admitted it "certainly did pull on the heart strings".
She was unsure of whether other players would follow her out the door.
- © Fairfax NZ News