Former Aussie captain pins Netball NZ's 'appalling' treatment of Laura Langman as reason for Comm Games flop

An Australia Diamonds legend has taken a shot at Netball NZ for their handling of Laura Langman, indicating the current string of disastrous results for the Silver Ferns has to do with the governing body's choice to exclude non-domestic-based players.

Former player-turned-commentator Liz Ellis said in a column piece Netball NZ have treated Langman "appallingly" over the past two years and are now seeing the consequences.

"It was unbelievable to me that New Zealand missed out on a medal on the Gold Coast, and that they almost didn't make the finals," Ellis wrote for PlayersVoice.

"But I wasn't exactly shocked because New Zealand no longer have their best players playing in the best league in the world – week in, week out. There is no doubt that their Commonwealth Games performance suffered as a result."

Australian captain Liz Ellis, The World netball team captains media session, Maritime Museum, Auckland, New Zealand. Thursday 08 November 2007, Photo : Chris Skelton/PHOTOSPORT
Liz Ellis. Source: Photosport

Ellis said the likes of England and Jamaica, who both beat the Silver Ferns in the Commonwealth Games, were thriving from players competing in the Australian league where they were learning to play with the same intensity the Diamonds do.

"The flipside of course is that New Zealand are suffering because they're not part of it.

"Basically what New Zealand are doing is saying they don't want anything to do with our league and the big carrot for players who choose to play in the New Zealand league is representing the Silver Ferns."

Langman opted to join the New South Wales Swifts in August 2015, effectively ending her career as a Silver Fern as a result due to Netball NZ's rules of eligibility for Silver Ferns selection.

"So that meant they missed their best player in Laura Langman, who I think has been treated appallingly by their governing body," Ellis said.

"I think she would have got them a lot closer to a medal. She's a superstar who was one of the best players in the Suncorp Super Netball league here last year."

Ellis said she understood Netball NZ's decision was for commercial purposes, but an exemption should have been made for the former Silver Ferns captain.

"Laura Langman has played 141 tests for the Silver Ferns and had not missed a test match since her debut in 2005. And suddenly they've said 'no, you're playing in Australia, you can no longer play for the national team'".

"I think you can make an exemption for a player who has played that many consecutive test matches for New Zealand. You only need a bush lawyer to tell you that."

An independent review has been launched by Netball NZ into their Commonwealth Games campaign, where for the first time in history the team failed to claim a medal.

Silver Ferns midcourter Laura Langman Source: Photosport

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