Rooney attacks starting spot

TY PILSON, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

Jamie Rooney is billed as an offensively gifted lacrosse player.

So, it should come as no surprise the 22-year-old rookie is close to scoring himself a starting position with the National Lacrosse League's Calgary Roughnecks.

Following the departure of veteran Jason Wulder in a trade to Edmonton this summer, the starting attack spot on the right crease is open.

Rooney impressed during the first week of training camp a week ago and looked to continue this weekend as camp resumed.

"I'm still nervous about everything I do," said the Port Arthur, Ont., product. "I don't believe I've shown them what I can do yet. I still have to work my tail off in camp to show them I can play in this league."

Riggers head coach Chris Hall has been pleased with Rooney's performance but added the job's not his yet.

"I think it's still a little too early to be a lock for Jason Wulder's spot but he certainly has played very well so far," said Hall. "I saw him in the summertime in Vancouver play very well for Wellington when they won the President's Cup (senior B championship, at which Rooney was named tournament MVP). He likes to go to the net but he also has good vision and can shoot the ball real well. And he likes to play down low on the crease, so he's a natural fit for the spot."

Wulder, a Calgary native, scored 108 goals and 272 points in five seasons for the Roughnecks and left big shoes to fill.

"It is intimidating to go in and try to take that spot and do what he did over the years," said Rooney, who was drafted three years ago but has yet to play an NLL game.

"But I think we have a lot of veteran guys here who will bring me along slowly and make sure I don't do anything stupid."

Rooney, attending his third NLL camp after two in Buffalo with the team that drafted him, said he still has some butterflies.

"I feel a lot of pressure right now," he explained.

"But I put that on myself because I haven't played a game yet.

"I felt I should have played in Buffalo and I appreciate the chance Calgary has givenme to earn my way into playing in this league."


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