Rock ready to rein in the attack

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Though the names are almost all the same, expect a far different Toronto Rock club this season than the explosive offensive club that lit up the scoreboard the past two years.

Following a franchise-worst 8-8 season last year and an embarrassing 16-8 playoff loss to the Rochester Knighthawks last April, Terry Sanderson was replaced as coach by former Rock stalwart Glenn Clark, and as general manager by a new director of lacrosse operations, Mike Kloepfer.

The new management team wants a better transition game, cutting down on enemy scoring chances at the expense of creating offence.

Offence was not a problem for the Rock last season. Josh Sanderson and Colin Doyle finished first and third in the league in scoring, respectively, but the team's defence was not good enough.

During practice yesterday at the Ultimate Sports Centre in Vaughan, a low-key Josh Sanderson said he was upset at the removal of his father, but maintained that he is still happy in Toronto.

"It's disappointing, obviously," Sanderson said. "I didn't see it coming. (But) my job is to play and help the team win games the same as when my dad was here. I've played for different coaches. It's not a big deal, but I was shocked and disappointed when it happened for sure."

Doyle said there is a danger of changing a successful system too much (the Rock won the Champions Cup in 2005),

"If it's at the expense of us scoring as much, it's fine by us as long as we win more games."

Colin Doyle on Rock's renewed attention to defence but said he is confident that his former teammate Clark will shore up some problem areas.

"With Terry and (assistant coach) Matt Sawyer behind the bench, they let us be really creative and play offensive-minded," Doyle said.

"If (Clark and his staff) are pulling the reins back a bit, I think it will hurt us personally.

"But our transition game certainly hurt us last year and there's no doubt they're going to shore that up. If it's at the expense of us scoring as much, it's fine by us as long as we win more games."

Sawyer, the remaining assistant from Terry Sanderson's staff, was relieved of his duties by the club yesterday, replaced by another former Rock player, Terry Bullen.

The Rock's roster stands at 30 and will be trimmed down to 23 by Dec. 14.

The club's first exhibition game is Saturday in Halifax.


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