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Langman readies for new challenge

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/05/2016 Cathy Walshe

Laura Langman has never been one to shy away from a challenge, not even if it means venturing into familiar territory in an unfamiliar position.

Langman's NSW Swifts will face Mainland Tactix in Christchurch on Sunday, the first time the 30-year-old midcourter has played a trans-Tasman league match for her new Australian franchise in New Zealand.

Langman has spent most of her time with the Swifts this season at wing defence, an unfamiliar role despite beginning her Silver Ferns career there 11 years ago.

She's formed a formidable combination with Diamonds midcourters Paige Hadley and Kimberlee Green, sharpening up her defensive skills while adding an extra option on transition in whipping the ball into Swifts shooters Caitlin Thwaites and Susan Pettit.

The Swifts have lost just one match this season, to the defending champion Queensland Firebirds, but aren't about to take the Tactix lightly.

After a series of bottom-of-the-table finishes in recent years, they sit third in the New Zealand conference with wins over the Pulse and Mystics as well as a draw with the table-topping Southern Steel.

"I think the Tactix been tracking really well to date, and they're starting to put some quality performances together," Langman told NZ Newswire.

"They're looking long, they're playing with confidence and they're really creating intercept ball on defence."

A big part of the Tactix's success has come from the elusive and aerial shooting combination crafted by Malawi international Mwai Kumwenda and Silver Ferns shooter Bailey Mes.

The two are supremely unpredictable, and have an intuitive ability to play both shooting positions seemingly at the same time.

Langman says their strong rebounding and accurate shooting present a real challenge for the Swifts defence.

"They're very aerial which allows their middies to look and hit them as targets from anywhere, even in the mid third," she said.

"They're a very elusive and dangerous team, and a massive asset for the Tactix."

Disrupting those connections, and adjusting to umpiring differences, will be key for the Swifts in their first game this season in New Zealand.

"This will be our first official game across the ditch, so our exposure to the New Zealand umpiring and how they're interpreting the rules will be important," Langman said.

"Our adaptability and ability to adjust quickly is going to be key."

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