No winning welcome as Howard returns

THE return of Launceston Tornadoes forward Olivia Howard from injury was one bright spot for the club in an otherwise disappointing performance last weekend against intrastate rival Hobart.

The 21-year-old Torns vice-captain made a welcome comeback from a four-week lay-off due to a knee injury in the six-point loss to the Lady Chargers.

``It didn't go as well as I'd hoped but I'm very hard on myself and while it was good to get back into the game I can only go upwards from here,'' she said.

``It is always disappointing when you lose to your Tasmanian rivals.

``It was one of the games we wanted to win but unfortunately it didn't happen but hopefully next time we meet we can set those things into place and strive to beat them.''

Howard continues to be troubled by a bone problem in her left knee, an issue which she said would have to be managed throughout the season.

She is hoping her own performance and that of the team as a whole can lift this weekend when the Tornadoes take on Sandringham at Elphin Stadium.

``Last week was our first time all of us played together and you can't expect us all to gel in one game,'' Howard said.

``But as we go on through the season we will find that mix - but it is not going to happen straight away.

``I think we have seen some promising signs in previous games that we do have the potential to play really well together so hopefully that can show this week.''

She said Sandringham would be another tough game with the Sabres having four priority WNBL players who will be hard to match up on.

Howard adds height to the playing group and places an important emphasis on her leadership skills on-court.

``I think I  can be an authority figure on the court and direct and help people out and my voice is probably another thing I bring to the game.''

She said she was enjoying the opportunity of playing alongside high calibre recruits such as Lauren Mansfield, Alex Wilson and Nadeen Payne.

``It's been awesome and they are a whole other level up from what I've ever played with and they are still so young as well.''

WHO: Launceston Tornadoes v Sandringham.

WHAT: SEABL.

WHEN: Saturday, 6.30pm tip-off.

WHERE: Elphin Stadium.

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