New coach wants to rebound Torns to glory

NEWLY-APPOINTED Launceston Tornadoes coach Peta Sinclair believes local involvement is pivotal to the club returning to its glory days.

The club yesterday announced Sinclair as its coach for the 2013 SEABL season, hoping it will be able to draw on the 29-year-old's decade- long experience in the WNBL.

Speaking to The Examiner from northern Queensland, where she is an assistant coach with Townsville Fire, Sinclair said she had fond memories of her season playing with the Torns and stressed the importance of local support on and off court.

"I played there in 2008 and had a really good time," Sinclair said.

"The club approached me mid-season to see whether I was interested and I've kept in contact since then.

"I know it's been a tough season with them nearly folding but I enjoyed my time there and like the community-based support they have."

A 187cm forward, Sinclair has WNBL experience with the AIS, Sydney and Canberra Capitals, where she won the 2006-07 championship. She also played US division 1 college basketball and represented Canberra at the 2007 world club championships in Russia.

Sinclair will stay with Townsville until the end of the WNBL season in February and while this may hinder the Torns' preseason training, she intends to visit Launceston in January to start setting up programs.

"I'm looking to stay at least a couple of seasons," she said. "I want to start building a culture to get the club to where it has been before. It's a wonderful opportunity that I want to put a lot of time and effort into.

"I think they did a really good job last year getting in players like Sarah Blicavs and local girl Tayla Roberts but I'm happy to work with whoever we have.

"I've coached Tayla at the AIS, have a good relationship with her and feel strongly about getting local players involved, so she's someone I'd like to target for sure."

The Torns see Sinclair's appointment as a significant step in their rebuilding efforts following the financial dramas which threatened their existence earlier this year.

"We're extremely happy to bring a coach in that's involved in Australian and WNBL programs," board member Heath Butt said.

"We see this as the next step towards taking this club back towards the top of the pedestal.

"Peta will be an asset to the club and an asset to the Launceston basketball community, continuing to build a pathway of opportunity for girls to play the highest level of basketball in Australia."

The club, which expressed its thanks for this year's volunteer coaching role of Rick Wyllie and Brodie Clarke, expects to announce at its annual meeting that it has traded out of insolvency thanks to the support of the Launceston community.

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