Vixens target Langman in netball final
The Melbourne Vixens see stopping the Magic’s New Zealand Test centre Laura Langman as a key to winning the trans-Tasman netball title on Sunday.
The two teams will battle out the ANZ Championship grand final at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena, with Melbourne aiming to become the first two-time champions, having won in 2009.
While much of the spotlight has been on the Magic’s veteran sharp-shooter Irene van Dyk, the Vixens say stopping speedy centre and skipper Langman is a focus.
Vixens captain Bianca Chatfield said Langman had been a stand-out in the Magic’s 11-match winning streak.
“She’s in awesome form,” Chatfield said of 25-year-old Langman.
“She’s got the experience, she’s played with the Silver Ferns for a number of years now and I think she’s the crucial link to their team, bringing it from their defence into attack.
“She was really the stand-out in their (semi-final) game on Monday night (against the Northern Mystics).”
Vixens coach Julie Hoornweg said the distinction of becoming the first multiple winners since the competition started in 2008 wasn’t a driving force.
“It’s a nice reward… but we want to achieve this for ourselves, not for history,” she said.
It is the third grand final appearance for the Magic, from New Zealand provinces Waikato and Bay of Plenty, so far without success.
They won’t arrive into Melbourne until late on Saturday, less than 24 hours before the start of the game.
Hoornweg said her side, which has had a two-week break while the Magic had to play extra time to secure their semi-final win over the Mystics, was primed for action.
She planned to leave it until their final training session to decide on her final shooting combination, with goal attack Tegan Caldwell to partner either Karyn Howarth or Kate Beveridge.
Hoornweg believed the fact that the Magic hadn’t played against the new but raw combination of Caldwell and Howarth could be an advantage.
“We know our team is ready and I’m guessing they’ve done everything in their powers to get themselves ready.
“One thing I am sure of is that this team knows how to handle a challenge,” Hoornweg said.© AAP 2013
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