14 Jun 2017

Langman's Silver Ferns future uncertain

1:49 pm on 14 June 2017

Netball New Zealand better pick up the phone quick if they want Laura Langman in the Silver Ferns mix next year.

Laura Langman

Laura Langman Photo: Photosport

It's a big year for international netball with the Commonwealth Games in April next year but it seems there's a real risk that the 143-Test veteran won't be there.

This Saturday the Sunshine Coast Lightning host the Giants in the grand final of the inaugural Super Netball competition, coached by New Zealand's Noeline Taurua.

When the trans-Tasman league split last year, Langman opted to play for the Lightning to improve her game, but that meant she missed out on playing for the Silver Ferns this year.

Fearing that top talent would leave to play in the new Australian league, Netball New Zealand stood firm on its rule that players have to be based here to be eligible for the Silver Ferns.

Langman's coach Taurua said when the grand final was over this Saturday the players only had three weeks to decide if they wanted to stay at their current club.

"We have three weeks to be able to secure our own players within our own roster and then after those three weeks the market opens and people who are not secured by a team go on the roster and it opens up."

Langman has had an outstanding year with the Lightning, who have had a dream first year in the league, so you would think if she is going to stay playing in Australia then it will be with them and her old coach Taurua.

It could in fact be a matter of days before netball fans learn whether she will be playing for the Ferns next year.

"She will make it [the decision] probably within a week, knowing that she doesn't want to I suppose lead us on.

"At the moment I suppose the door's been closed from the Silver Ferns or New Zealand point of view in regards to you know, if she does play here then pretty much her Silver Ferns is over and done with for that season."

Last year Langman said her plan was to return to play in New Zealand in 2018, with the Commonwealth Games a major carrot and then the World Cup a year later.

But she has been more circumspect when asked that question recently, mostly it seems because Netball New Zealand hasn't been in touch.

"It would be great if Netball New Zealand communicated with Laura and kept those lines open but I don't think it has so far," said Taurua.

Langman's not the kind of player who thinks she's going to waltz into the Ferns and doesn't need to be fawned over.

New Zealand coach Janine Southby can't go making promises, even if she has consistently been the Ferns best performer in recent years.

However, you would think that Southby would be keen to let a player of Langman's quality know she was wanted for trials later this year at the very minimum.

Taurua ultimately wants Netball New Zealand to allow Langman to have the best of both worlds.

"The way that she's playing at the moment is amazing and it would be fantastic if there is some way of Netball New Zealand being able to look through that. I can't understand the logic, it's just a shame that someone of her calibre is going to miss out.

"Laura's done 143 consecutive Tests and I think you do earn the respect at some time and sometimes that needs to be paid back."

Taurua said while Langman had some big decisions to make right now she was fully concentrating on the grand finals.

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