THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing New Zealand Silver Ferns midcourters, Temepara Bailey and Laura Langman.
Two players with plenty of versatility and an innate ability to constantly apply pressure, Bailey and Langman have both been constant threats through the midcourt for a number of years. With plenty of talent, both feisty players burst onto the international scene, and while the two players wear the centre bib they both approach the position and the midcourt very differently, making the pair a very interesting combination to look at.
Bailey may be on the shorter side but that never stopped her, overflowing with speed and energy through the midcourt, always a threat with her attacking style of play, always running circles around her opposition with her impressively clean footwork and ability to find open space to drive into. Bailey was not afraid of the whistle, willing to do almost anything for a win and was well and truly called out for it during the 2003 Netball World Cup final – where she was the first player to be sent off in a final – but that just made her an even more exciting and pressurised player to come up against, unpredictable and intense as she was. The speedster was more of an attacking threat, using her quick hands to send ball into the goal circle on a silver platter, but her explosiveness on defence was a credit to her tenacity and constant drive to go one better than her opposition.
Where Bailey was more of an attacking midcourter, Langman is renowned for her defensive pressure and ability to be a constantly smothering defensive midcourter. A wing defence turned centre, Langman is a physical threat thanks to her constant shadowing but can also turn up the heat offensively thanks to her transitional running and game smarts to adapt to the situation. While Langman’s defensive prowess is a given, her offensive take on her defensive game plan is what makes her such a tough opposition, using her vision off the ball and player to poke holes in defence and take intercepts that should not be possible. Her attacking pressure may not be as evident, stepping back to be an aid to her wing attack, but she can still apply plenty of pressure on circle edge with her ability to see patterns and open up passing options for her teammates with her clever read of the play.
89 caps, 2000-2011
163 caps, 2005-present