Launceston Tornadoes confident ahead of SEABL Conference Final

The Launceston Tornadoes celebrate victory against Hobart.
The Launceston Tornadoes celebrate victory against Hobart.

Another away day holds no fears for a Launceston Tornadoes side hoping to emulate its glory years.

Some 22 years after the club’s historic national title, the current crop of players appears to grow taller with each trip, finishing its regular season with three straight away games followed by back-to-back come-from-behind finals wins in Hobart then Dandenong.

Forward Tayla Roberts said the big asks only serve to galvanise the tight-knit team.

“I think we’ve had a tough run and handled a lot of adversity but have managed to pull through,” said the Launceston-born former AIS, WNBL and Australian under-16 star.

“There’s been a good vibe going through the team for a few weeks now and the Hobart game was the start of that. We played awesome and won and going into the Dandenong game we were super high and happy.

“Going into the finals campaign we were the underdogs because we ended up fourth but I think that’s awesome because we have less expectations but know what we are capable of as a team so if we play to our potential we have nothing to lose.

Coach Richard Dickel addresses his players in Hobart. Pictures: Scott Gelston.

Coach Richard Dickel addresses his players in Hobart. Pictures: Scott Gelston.

“We have stepped up at the right time and I couldn’t be prouder of our group.”

Having ended the Chargers and Rangers’ seasons, the Torns will look to complete a hat-trick against Bendigo in Saturday’s South Conference Final, the winner of which will meet the winner of the East Conference Final between Kilsyth and Geelong in next week’s SEABL Championship game at Kilsyth.

After giving up a four-point lead with two minutes to go to lose their last meeting, the Torns will be wary of Lady Braves Chante Black (15.2 points per game), Chloe Bibby (17.3 ppg) and Kelly Wilson (12.8 ppg).

Richard Dickel’s team is seeking to go one step better than last year when the Tornadoes lost the conference grand final to Kilsyth.

“We had our chance in the last game we played against Bendigo and I think we will have learnt some lessons when we weren’t able to finish the game off,” Dickel said.

The Torns will rely on Roberts (21.5 ppg), Lauren Mansfield (15.1) and Lauren Nicholson (16.8) who was also exuding confidence.

“We’re definitely almost there,” Nicholson said. “We had a really good game against Hobart and were able to perform again against Dandenong but I still think moving on to Bendigo we can play better as a group.”

Tip off is at 7pm.