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Howard hopeful of successful return

Central Coast Roosters playmaker Mel Howard is excited to see how the latest addition to the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership will perform once they return after the coronavirus pandemic.

Howard made the transition from the CRL Newcastle team, who won the competition last year, to the Central Coast which is being coached by former Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Origin star Kylie Hilder.

The team is made up of a host of stars including Harvey Norman NSW Women's Origin centre Isabelle Kelly, Harvey Norman Women’s NSW Origin Under-18’s players Joeli Morris, Caitlan Johnston and Olivia Kernick.

“Pre-season and everything was actually really good,” Howard said.

“Our team was pretty cool which was not unexpected but it was very new and so many different girls so I was pretty surprised at how well everyone got on and it was really fun.

“I think the girls have a lot of respect for Kylie because she did play with us and obviously played for a long time.

“She kind of approached things a bit differently because she knows us and so we were getting those little one-on-one comments here and there so I think the girls responded really well to her.”

Howard said mental health was just as important as staying fit during self-isolation so she has implemented some new daily habits into her routine and taken up some hobbies away from football.

“Isabelle Kelly’s husband Jake is our Strength and Conditioning coach so he’s shared with us a program up that everyone can do at home with no gear but my gym gave me gear so I’ve been doing stuff from my gym and just a combination of everything I can to stay fit,” she said.

“Personally, I’ve got a list of things I try and do every day so call family members or a friend, read a book, listen to podcasts, stuff like that, because I can’t handle not keeping busy.

“Before everything shut down I went and bought a skateboard because a couple of my mates skate a bit, so I was going to the skate park when it was open and then we’ve got a quarter-pipe at home too which is a bit of fun.

“I’ve tried to keep in touch with the Newcastle girls especially and check in because I don’t think some people are used to looking at their mental health so closely now they have so much time on their hands so it’s good to keep checking in with them.”