Laura Langman could be set to re-join her long-time mentor Noeline Taurua at the new Sunshine Coast netball franchise next year, adding further star power to what is shaping to be an impressive line-up.
The move means Langman will be ineligible to play for the Silver Ferns in 2017, bringing an end to her incredible unbroken run of test appearances - 135 and counting - since she made her debut in 2005.
It is understood the star midcourter is considering the break as a sabbatical and will look to return to the New Zealand league in 2018 ahead of the Commonwealth Games and 2019 World Cup.
Langman was granted an exemption to play for the NSW Swifts in the ANZ Championship this year, but the split in the transtasman league has forced Netball New Zealand to take a hardline stance in enforcing the Silver Ferns selection criteria to prevent Kiwi players flocking across the Tasman.
With Netball Australia and players' association representatives still finalising the collective agreement, the Australian franchises are unable to confirm any signings for their new domestic league, which gets underway in February 2017. However, given all but one Kiwi team having announced their roster for the 2017 season, it is now clear Langman will not be playing in New Zealand next season.
The only New Zealand team yet to announce their line-up is the new yet to be named Auckland franchise, but a spokesman for the team has confirmed Langman is not on their books.
While many were tipping Langman to return to the Swifts next season, it appears more likely she will team with Taurua - the coach who discovered her as a teenager - at the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
The Lightning, who are backed the Melbourne Storm NRL club, have several other top-name stars lined up with Australian Diamonds sharpshooter Caitlin Bassett and English defender Geva Mentor among the players rumoured to be making the move to the club.
It is expected once the collective players agreement (CPA) is sorted the teams will be in a position to quickly formalise their rosters.
Taurua was reluctant to discuss her squad until players are officially contracted, but was confident of assembling a competitive roster.
"You can talk to whoever you like, but I've always been one that it's not until they've signed on the dotted line that it's guaranteed," said Taurua.
"With Laura [Langman] there's obviously things she has to work through with what happens with the New Zealand stuff. Like any player it will be a big move and there are big decisions to be made.
"If everything comes through I'll be very happy. One of the things with Melbourne Storm is they are a successful organisation and they right from the start want us to have a competitive team and we're not going into this competition giving ourselves two years to transition."
Taurua has found the recruitment process in Australia remarkably different to her experiences in New Zealand. She said the increased competition for contracted spots means players tend to be more proactive and will approach franchises directly to pitch their case for inclusion.
Netball Australia have also been closely involved with the process, offering Taurua guidance on which young players may fit into the Lightning programme.
"The discussions I've had have been really heartening. There's a lot of people who maybe want to do things a bit differently and be coached a wee bit differently from what they always have and that has probably given me a lot of confidence about what we can possibly deliver out on court."