Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic stalwart Sam Winders has confirmed she will wear new colours in the 2023 ANZ Premiership, searching for a fresh challenge on the netball court.
The gritty Rotorua midcourter, who can cover all three positions through the middle, was first contracted to the Magic in her first year after leaving John Paul College in 2014 and notched up her 100th national league game for the club in 2021.
She rounded out the 2022 ANZ Premiership having played 123 games for the Magic.
Winders played her ninth straight season for the Magic this year but said now was the right time to test herself in a different environment.
"This has been one of the toughest decisions I've had to make, and the Magic will always hold a very special place in my heart," she said.
"But I also know that it is time for me to push the boundaries and try something new, continue to learn with the aim of growing my game.
"I'm looking forward to the next chapter but also want to say thank you to the club which gave me that first opportunity in elite netball."
Winders, who made her Silver Ferns debut in 2017 against the Australian Diamonds and has gone on to earn 47 test caps, has captained the Magic for the past three seasons in the ANZ Premiership.
Magic General Manager Gary Dawson said Winders was a highly valued member of the side and they wanted to pay tribute to the midcourter.
"She goes with our support, aroha, and gratitude for everything she has done for Magic. Sam has been the heart of the Magic in recent years, and she will be missed," he said.
"She will always be a part of the Magic legacy, but we also understand Sam's wish to challenge herself in a new environment and we wish her all the best.
"She has been an incredibly loyal servant to the Magic, particularly over the last few seasons heavily impacted by Covid-19, and we are incredibly thankful for that."
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