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Third time lucky: Howard gets chance to play on big stage

She's the self-confessed footy nerd who gets paid out by her friends and family for watching too many games on replay, but Roosters playmaker Mel Howard wouldn't have it any other way.

With fullback Botille Vette-Welsh racing the clock to return from a hamstring injury and Bobbi Law (knee) and Charlotte Caslick (back) already gone, the Tricolours are light-on for outside backs.

Roosters coach Jamie Feeney has turned to Howard, whose career at the elite level hasn't been easy, to help win the club's first-ever premiership.

Usually one to play a second-fiddle role for NRLW clubs in previous seasons, the 27-year-old spent a season at the Dragons in 2018, where the club failed to reach the grand final in the inaugural year.

She then switched to the Roosters last season where the side went winless in their three-game campaign.

"I said to a friend the other day I feel like things are falling into place at the moment," Howard told NRL.com.

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"I've been one step behind and not the number one half for most of journey, so it's nice to get a starting spot.

"I didn't even think I was playing so I'm a bit nervous. I've been a bit nervous already, which is unusual because I don't really get nervous.

"But I'm also good at getting myself into a good mindset when it matters."

 

 

Howard's combination with Zahara Temara will be crucial to the Roosters' chances of causing an upset against reigning premiers Brisbane at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

The pair were able to get a much-needed run in during last week's loss to the Broncos with Temara called into the side late.

"We had a bit of time together last year when she played lock," Howard said.

"It felt good from training and into the game. I felt calm and confident with what we were going to do together.

"I had a couple of weeks off so thought I'd struggle but felt good and refreshed. I think my defence is solid which is what I focus on, and I had a couple of runs with the ball which I've been encouraged to do

"I'm just keen to get out there and smash it."

The Central Coast product added the Broncos were the "benchmark" but said every side was beatable on their day.

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"We definitely know what they're going to bring," she said.

"I think as a team we need to be a bit better with completing sets and getting to kicks.

"They're just a team that if you've got someone like Ali [Brigginshaw] leading them around they know what they're doing. We just need to match them for the entire game and hold onto the ball."