Howe reflected: "I thought we did well for long periods of the game. They're a completely different team this year and they're going to be a very difficult team to play against.
"We tried to nullify their strengths and did have our chances, but it was a cruel way to concede with a deflection from Steve Cook.
"Our front three did well, they kept asking questions of their defence and kept the ball well between them. We're pleased with majority of our performance, but ultimately disappointed not to win."