THE Launceston Tornadoes will take on the Ballarat Rush for the Madeleine Howard Memorial Shield in their SEABL clash in Ulverstone tonight.
It will be the Torns first game of the season on the North-West Coast in a double-header with the North-West Thunder men's team.
The Tornadoes play the game against the Rush each year as a memorial to Howard, a former rising star in the Tornadoes squad, who tragically lost her life 10 years ago in a car accident.
Torns captain and assistant Alicia Riley, who knew and trained alongside Howard, is determined to keep the Madeleine Howard Shield at home this year.
"The game is pretty special game for the club, winning means even more - we play for Madeleine and her family," Riley said.
"It is also SEABL Breast Cancer Awareness Round for the Mother's Day weekend and all players will be wearing something pink, which is to be a surprise on game day."
Last weekend the Tornadoes went down in two close losses to the Bendigo Lady Braves and Nunawading Spectres on the road.
"Although frustrated with losing, the ladies are feeling positive that they can compete with the best in the competition," Riley said.
"We just played two teams who will likely make finals this year, and we were competitive, even taking the lead by as much as 10 points against Bendigo.
"Now we have the confidence that we can compete with the top teams, we just need to find a way to extend our leads and finish games off.
Head coach, Pete Sinclair, returns from China this week and will be back in charge on the sidelines this weekend.
"I have been following closely while I've been away and it was pleasing to see the progress we seem to be making each game. We are due for another win and this is a great opportunity for us," said Sinclair.
The Rush is currently sitting second on the ladder and has a strong back court including former Opals squad member Steph Cumming, along with Kristy Rinaldi and Abi Wehrung.
US import Nya Mason also provides a big inside presence.
"Ballarat will be a tough match- up for us. They have been one of the dark horses this season and a team to be wary of come finals time," Sinclair said.