Rock vets fit

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

The season may not start until January, but Terry Sanderson thinks his defending champs are about ready to go right now.

"If we had to start tomorrow we would be ready," Sanderson, the Rock's general manager and head coach said yesterday.

Considering this afternoon marks the completion of just the second weekend of practice it appears the players don't have much of a title hangover.

"Some of the veterans are in better shape this year than last," Sanderson said adding that the most recent practice was very crisp.

"There was such a vast difference from last weekend. We're really pleased how things went (yesterday)."

Offence should not be a problem for the Rock as league scoring leader Colin Doyle and runner-up Blaine Manning return along with NLL all-time single season assist leader Josh Sanderson, who finished third in scoring last season.

Three goalies and 33 runners remain in camp looking to grab a spot on the 23-man roster or failing that, on the three-man practice roster.

A number of young players are fighting for the limited spots available, including second round pick Tyler Gibbons and Jason Henhawk, who finished tied for third in league scoring with Rock captain Jim Veltman in Ontario Senior B play this summer.

While veteran goalie Bob Watson may not know the names of all the youngsters, he has liked what he has seen from them so far.

"The young guys are bringing a lot of enthusiasm to camp and that's good for the older guys," Watson said.

Gibbons, the Rock's first selection in the 2005 entry draft said getting used to the professional game has been a challenge. He knows making the team's talent-laden roster will not be easy.

"This is probably a hundred times tougher than what I've faced before," Gibbons said.

"The coaches are trying to get the most out of us to see what we can take."

"It's a big adjustment for sure and I'm still getting used to it. I'm getting more confident each time I'm out there."

The Rock will likely make a few more cuts tonight or early this week.

"We'll see how the scrimmages go (today)," Sanderson said.

"The guys in there will either prove to us that they can come back for another look, or we may have to release a few more.

"That's not up to us, that will be up to how those guys perform."


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