ONE of the most impressive and threatening midcourters in the world is New Zealand product, Laura Langman. Despite showing no signs of slowing down, Langman’s retirement is imminent with the gut running centre edging ever closer to the 40 mark at 34. She has proven to be a real barometer for any side she plays in whether it be domestic or internationally.
Langman oozes nothing but class, endurance and experience something that many wish they had. She is renowned for her ability to do the unthinkable and simply stand up under the pressure. The New Zealand Silver Ferns veteran is one of the key cogs in their line-up with her ability to link up both the defensive and attacking ends with her movement and impressive game play. But the big question remains; who will replace the star midcourter when she retires?
The Southern Steel midcourter has spent her time in and out of the Silver Ferns side but really, showcased her skill in the 2019 Netball World Cup after being recalled to the squad. Saunders is more of an attacking style midcourter able to switch into that wing attack role when needed. She has proven that she has the calibre and netball nous to mix it with the best in the world and run out that centre position with her clever game play and good timing. Saunders is exciting to watch, able to dart around the court and vary her passes into the circle thanks to her vast skill set. She can read the play and deliver the ball accordingly. The 29-year-old also does the defensive things well, able to create doubt in the feeder’s minds with her constant pressure around the circle edge. Her electric connection with fellow Silver Fern and wing attack, Gina Crampton also puts her in good stead to take the reins from Langman if and when the time comes.
The 24-year-old plays a very similar role to that of Langman, with Winders renowned for her defensive style of play. She is a gut running centre that is quick off the mark and applies a wealth of pressure on the ball carrier with her hands over pressure and three-foot marking. Winders still has plenty of development left in her but has proven that she is a true leader on-court with her clever plays and strong movement. Her ability to create space in the attacking third and then seamlessly transition into defence is a testament to her high netball IQ. Winders is quick on her feet able to shadow her opponent and go toe-to-toe with her around circle edge and create tips and turnovers. She is strong on the take and uses her body well to outhustle her opponents. The defensive minded midcourter has spent time in the Silver Ferns but will be hoping to solidify her role in the black dress.
Although she is still coming up through the ranks and has limited exposure to the international stage, Poi has come along in leaps and bounds. She is an energiser bunny across the court constantly on the move and repositioning. The centre court player has speed to burn with her dynamic footwork often wrong-footing opponents allowing her to hit circle edge with ease. Her variety of passes into the circle, quick hands and good vision makes her a strong option to secure a more permanent role in the Ferns outfit. Poi plays more of an attacking style with her movement and positioning but is no slouch when it comes to defence able to block space and cause confusion. She can read the play well and insert herself into the gaps to either force a turnover or create an attacking foray.