Laura Langman in action for the Sunshine Coast Lightning during the Super Netball grand final.
Laura Langman in action for the Sunshine Coast Lightning during the Super Netball grand final. GLENN HUNT

Lightning star struck out of Commonwealth Games team

NETBALL: Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander says she understands New Zealand Netball's tough selection stance but is disappointed one of the best players in the world will likely be missing from the Silver Ferns side at the Commonwealth Games after Laura Langman re-signed to play in Super Netball in Australia in 2018.

Alexander said the Diamonds had been planning ways to combat 141 Test veteran Langman at the Gold Coast event in April when Australia will defend its Commonwealth Games crown.

"It's a very tough call. We were planning to play her,” Alexander said of the mercurial midcourter who helped Lightning to the Super Netball title in May.

"But the rules are the rules. It is a team sport. There have to be rules round the way you plan your programs.

"I understand it but I am disappointed for her.”

In a statement on their website, New Zealand said Langman had ruled herself ineligible for the Silver Ferns in 2018 by playing in the Australian competition.

"Netball New Zealand's very strong desire was for Laura to be available to play for the Silver Ferns in the Commonwealth Games and the Netball World Cup,” New Zealand high performance boss Keir Hansen said.

"We are obviously highly disappointed Laura has decided not to sign for a New Zealand club team for the 2018 season as that would have made her eligible for selection for the Silver Ferns in 2018.”

Langman moved to Lightning after playing with the NSW Swifts in the now defunct ANZ Championship, the trans-Tasman competition replaced by the all-Australian team Super Netball in 2017.

However, her decision to stay with Lightning in 2018 makes her ineligible for the national side unless she is granted an exemption as she was to play for the Swifts.

Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander.
Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander. CHRISTY HILL

Alexander said she would not be "surprised” if a way is found for Langman to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

"Sometimes there are different rules for sporting events. I don't know what they are but you never say never,” she said.

Langman plays alongside England captain Geva Mentor at Lightning.

England has no rule preventing its players competing in Super Netball with Alexander confident their national team will be significantly stronger because of the exposure of their players to such high-level netball.



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