Ellie La Monte says she is proud of how well Launceston United bounced back from the devastating early loss of fellow recruit Montana Leonard.
The talented import lasted just half an hour of the opening match this season before suffering a season-ending ACL injury and being forced to return home to Canada for surgery.
Western Australian La Monte swiftly stepped up, supplying seven goals as United won their first five fixtures to assume league leadership, but said the whole team deserves credit for how it responded to the setback.
"It was a big adjustment losing Montana," she said. "We'd both come into the team and had key roles and losing her had a big impact but I think the girls have adjusted quite well.
"The girls are amazing to play with. The first few games we settled in with each other but the last few games we've been playing our football and I think it's just going to get better as we move on.
"We want to be top three and even take out the league. Coming so close last year, we just want to improve on that. The last few games we haven't been playing our best football. Some of the games we should have not conceded or taken more goal opportunities and personally I should have taken more chances."
The 23-year-old, who likes to cut in off the left wing onto her right foot, said another new arrival, Alexis Mitchell, is also proving pivotal to the team structure, pulling the strings in midfield.
Born in Napier, New Zealand, La Monte moved to Western Australia as a child and played with Matildas Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord at W-League side Perth Glory where she debuted at just 16 years of age.
Since moving to Birch Avenue she has also taken charge of United's Northern Championship side and said she is enjoying the dual roles.
"It's challenging in some ways but it's also great and makes me focus on the defensive side as well as the attacking side so I learn a lot about myself doing it.
"I'm away for quite a few games, but the girls are taking on board everything that I'm giving them. Obviously, me playing alongside half of them does help on the field because they know how I play and how I want them to play.
"I think it also showcases that when I'm on the field this is what I want them to do and I think they respect that I do what I'm asking them to do."
Heralding the impact of Tasmanian sport without saying "punching above its weight" is not as easy as it sounds.
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