David Polkinghorne July 26, 2012
Canberra Darters captain Sepi Langi. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Sepi Langi will draw inspiration from one of the world's best ever players when she leads the Canberra Darters in the Australian Netball League this year.
Langi will lead the Darters squad named at their season launch yesterday, after co-captaining the team in the Australian Netball League last year, and wants to use everything she learnt from Liz Ellis while at the Sydney Swifts.
Ellis captained Australia to the 2007 world championship and also led the Sydney Swifts to back-to-back premierships in 2006-07.
Now Langi wants to use that experience to help lift the Darters up the ladder.
Last year, the Darters finished in the cellar with just one win.
Langi also has her experience from representing Samoa at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi to draw on.
''Our [Samoa] captain was Frances Solia, who played for the [Waikato Bay of Plenty] Magic, who just won the [Trans-Tasman Championship], so she was a great role model for me leadership-wise, as well as Liz Ellis,'' Langi told The Canberra Times yesterday.
''She's one of my role models as well for being a leader, she's just great and has all those qualities, and I'll try and pass them on to the girls as well.''
Langi is realistic about where her team sits in the national scheme, but the Darters want to cause as many upsets as possible and she was still hopeful of finishing in the top four.
She'll get her first chance to do exactly that in the first round of the ANL, when the Darters play reigning champions NSW Waratahs at AIS Arena next Saturday.
They follow it up against the third-placed WA Sting the following day.
The Darters have a third home game, against the NT Storm, on September 9 the week before the finals.
''We're definitely there for some upsets, there were some close games last year, so our main aim is to improve on last year's results,'' she said.
Darters vice-captain Lacey Borg agreed with her captain on the team's standing.
She returns to the program after missing last year.
The year off has rejuvenated Borg, but it's also seen her switch ends of the court.
Previously a goal attack, her new job is to stop goals at either goal keeper or goal defence.
It's a transition that means she won't have to worry about former teammate Keely Rodrigo, also a defender.
Last year Rodrigo was the first ACT netballer to make an Australian squad, which has seen her join the AIS netball program.
With the AIS joining the ANL this season, it means she'll line-up against her old teammates for the first time.
While Rodrigo, 17, is a role model and an inspiration for all ACT netballers, that will all be forgotten when the teams meet this year.
''I would've loved to have played this year with her, coming back into defence and having played against her in the [ACT] state league season and just seeing the quality player that she is,'' Borg, 26, said.
''I would've really loved to work with someone like that and learn from her, even though she's younger than I am.''
The Darters have a secret weapon in curbing Rodrigo's effectiveness - Langi is her teacher at St Clare's College - so the talented youngster could find herself in detention if she does too good a job against Canberra.