Former Silver Fern defender Leana de Bruin has joined the exodus from Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic, with the Southern Steel expected to announce today they have signed the 33-test veteran for next season.

It will be de Bruin's third franchise is as many years. The 1.9m defender started out with the Northern Mystics in 2008, but defected to the Magic last season after coach Yvonne Willering's axing from the Auckland side.

De Bruin is the third top player to leave the Magic, with Silver Ferns Joline Henry and Maria Tutaia joining the Mystics next season.

While Magic coach Noeline Taurua early this week bemoaned the fact her players had become targets from rival franchises, there will be few tears shed outside the region over the player movement.

The Magic boasted six frontline Silver Ferns this season, which was severely detrimental to the strength of the remaining New Zealand teams.

The early player movement suggests there will be a much more even spread of talent among the Kiwi franchises next season.

The move south will see de Bruin link up with former Mystics teammate Sheryl Scanlan in the defensive end.

De Bruin is due to have her first child in November and will not be the only Steel player making a comeback from pregnancy next season. Re-signed shooter Daneka Wipiiti is due in December.