Langman creates a slice of Silver Ferns history
Pushing to new boundaries has been the hallmark of Laura Langman’s decorated career, with the midcourt dynamo adding another chapter with sole ownership as the Silver Ferns most capped player.
It was business as usual for the ever-professional Langman when she lined up in her 146th successive Test, fittingly against perennial rivals Australia, in the second Constellation Cup match in Townsville.
In the process, she eased past former team-mate and shooting great Irene van Dyk to claim a special place in New Zealand netball history.
Langman first made headlines in 2003 when she was named in the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic team while still at school, setting the scene for what was to follow and now, a well-storied 15 years later, has, once again, soared into new and unrivalled territory.
“I’m very lucky. I came into this sport in a quality era and I couldn’t have asked for better mentors and sports science staff who kept me on deck really,” the ever-humble Langman said immediately after her record-breaking outing.
“I live for the moment and every game’s like my first game. There’s no prouder moment than pulling on the black dress with your roomy when it’s game day. I just love the friendships that get built and this is just a real special moment.”
Showing a maturity beyond her years and a level of performance that set her apart, Langman became Silver Fern #133 in 2005, captaining the NZU21 team to the World Youth Cup title the same year in Florida.
The athletic and fleet-footed midcourter quickly became a striking presence in the Silver Ferns engine room, exacting standards, drive, preparation, ability to stay injury-free, and a touch of stubbornness, notwithstanding her inbuilt talent and skill-set, combining to produce an outstanding netballer.
Showcasing her famed resilience and tenacious qualities, Langman has fashioned an enviable record during her lengthy career. For 11 years after her debut in 2005, the livewire bundle of energy clocked up an almost unthinkable run of 141 tests, taking the court in every Silver Ferns test in that time, a true mark of her qualities and character.
Having 18 months away from international netball, Langman, once again, gave an indication of her standing when making a seamless return to the Silver Ferns this year while also assuming the captaincy. Having played just club netball in Hamilton during that time, it spoke volumes.
A no-fuss, get on with the job type of player, Langman’s DNA is the push behind the product, records have little bearing but as a consequence, the chirpy little midcourter has become one of the most influential and respected players in world netball. And one of New Zealand’s finest.
At the peak of her powers, Langman, 32, has developed into a fine leader on the back of a lengthy and well-credentialled resume. Never accepting of second-best, she has been resolute in honouring those who have come before in setting a new benchmark for those who will follow.
This netball story is far from complete, Langman, predator-like, poised to carve out another instalment.
Watching closely in the wings will be her long-time mentor Noeline Taurua.
After coaching Langman over many years, including the Magic, Northern Mystics, Australian domestic league and now at international level, recently appointed Silver Ferns coach Taurua is delighted with the latest turn of events.
“I am so proud that she’s involved in our game, that she’s representing our country and also proud of her longevity in our sport,” Taurua said.
“She’s a trooper and definitely a legend of our sport for what she’s done and what she continues to do both on and off the court, and the standards that she sets. I’m very proud of what she’s achieved and to have been a part of her journey.
“She’s the epitome of a high performance athlete and while she’s been away for 18 months, I know there’s more that I can get out of her game. I’m just rapt that she’s here and rapt that she’s committed to the Silver Ferns again and wearing the black dress.”