On the ball

TY PILSON

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

The biggest problem for the Calgary Roughnecks last season was consistency.

So, it should come as no surprise that one of the main goals for new head coach Troy Cordingley is to establish regularity when it comes to the team's play.

How does he plan to do that?

"One word: Accountability," said Cordingley.

The Riggers open their National Lacrosse League training camp this weekend with 37 players vying for spots on the 23-man roster. Cordingley, hired over the summer along with associate coach Terry Sanderson, said his expectations from veterans and rookies alike is straight forward.

"It's going to be a very, very aggressive team," said Cordingley. "And I mean that in a sense that we're going to be very aggressive on defence trying to create transition.

"The word I really want to use is consistent. When we play a game that we're really good, we need to play that game all the time."

While the jobs of many veterans from last season such as Tracey Kelusky, Lewis Ratcliff, Kaleb Toth and Andrew McBride are safe, Cordingley emphasized he expects a competitive camp.

"We have 37 guys coming to camp. It's 37 guys who can legitimately make this team," said Cordingley. "We're trying to push the veterans ... make them aware their spot is on the line. We have some really good young guys I think are capable of stepping in and maybe even starting."

Cordingley replaced interim head coach Jeff Dowling, who stood behind the bench for the final half of last season after Chris Hall -- hired prior to the team's inaugural season in 2001--was fired midway through the campaign.

The arrival of Cordingley and Sanderson is expected to bring a breath of fresh air to the team. Both are Eastern-based coaches who will bring a different approach to all facets of the team's game.

Cordingley will oversee everything, while Sanderson will focus on the defence. Cordingley said he is interviewing candidates to guide the team's offence.

Although Calgary has never had a problem scoring goals, Cordingley wants to see some changes in how the team executes plays with the ball.

"The biggest thing I want the offence to do is work as a team," said Cordingley. "There's five guys out there. If you don't have the ball, you should be doing something else to create space."

The biggest addition up front will be righty Curt Malawsky, signed last week as a free agent.

In net, Steve Dietrich -- who played last season in Buffalo, where Cordingley was an assistant coach -- is a former league MVP. Newly-acquired Pat Campbell will battle with Andrew Leyshon for the backup spot.

"Steve is still a student of the game," said Cordingley. "He still has his little book on shooters."

Cordingley plans to begin putting his stamp on the club starting from the defence out. Gone is Taylor Wray, while Kyle Couling will be the biggest addition on the back end, where most jobs are at stake.

"We want guys that are not only athletic, but smart, and can adapt to what the offences are throwing at us," said Cordingley.


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