The journey started out in 2008 and almost a decade on, Olivia Chugg has petered her way rather than blustered to 100 Tornadoes games.
“For me, it’s very special,” Chugg said. “I’ve been with the Torns on and off for seven years now. It’s a big deal – I didn’t think I’d make it.”
Chugg got a taste of SEABL basketball twice at 16 before returning two seasons later, rushing to 51 games by the end of 2011. But then niggles curtailed her momentum.
Chugg appeared just 12 times, but still took out the 2012 most improved award.
The 186cm forward played in all 26 the next year that earned her the club’s MVP.
But seven games in 2014 and none in either 2015 or last year had the 24-year-old’s game at the crossroads.
“There was a point going through all the niggly injuries, I thought do I really want to play because it is a big commitment,” Chugg said.
“This year, especially, I’ve been hungrier than ever, coming back off injury, and just getting my body right has made me excited to play.”
When the 24-year-old came home, she not only had ditched her maiden name, but found Mikaela Ruef, Ally Wilson and – at first – Tayla Roberts gone from the place.
“I am super happy Tay’s back – we grew up playing together. It’s awesome I get to do this with her,” she said.
“Losing Mikaela sucked, but it’s more motivation to give others a chance to step up, and opportunity to play big minutes and contribute.”
But Chugg can now smile over playing for the first time with sister Nina Howard, back from an ACL tear.
“I don’t think some of the girls knew we were,” she said.