Star pupil catching on

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

Forgive Dane Dobbie if he sometimes appears to be a wide-eyed kid around his Calgary Roughnecks teammates.

The five starting offensive players suiting up alongside the sophomore lefty have collectively played 594 National Lacrosse League games, scored 1,092 goals and recorded 2,506 points.

Among them are established stars Josh Sanderson, Tracey Kelusky and Kaleb Toth, plus wily veteran Curt Malawsky and up-and-coming sharpshooter Scott Ranger.

So Dobbie, who has played eight career games heading into tonight's matchup with the San Jose Stealth, realizes he is in a uniquely privileged spot being able to learn from some of the best.

"I'm just trying to take advantage of it," said the 23-year-old, who is an apprentice electrician in Burnaby, B.C., during the day.

"I'm doing my best. Every time I suit up with these guys, I see something else I can use.

"Every game is a learning experience. I learn so much being around those guys. Every single guy on our offence is so great, it's hard to explain."

Dobbie certainly isn't a passenger on the Riggers train but one of the conductors.

With a hat-trick against the Toronto Rock a week ago, Dobbie is off to a great start with six goals and eight assists in three games.

The Riggers needed another left-handed shooter to step up this off-season to replace the retired Kelly Hall, and they didn't need to add anybody.

When Sanderson came over from the Rock in a late-season trade, Dobbie was a healthy scratch, so the lefties didn't get on the floor together until this year's training camp.

The two had an instant connection.

"I would like to think we're getting better and better together," said Sanderson, who's in his 12th season. "We had a good training camp and a few good games, plus we're roommates too.

"He's a real good kid who loves the game. I like him a lot and the sky is the limit for him.

"I didn't know coming in his hands were so nice. He has great finish."

The Roughnecks drafted Dobbie fourth overall in the 2007 NLL entry draft, but his rookie season was one to forget.

Coming out of junior with the Burnaby Lakers, the 5-foot-9, 183-lb. Dobbie didn't adjust to the next level right away and was a healthy scratch the majority of the season.

What hurt his development was the fact he lives in Burnaby and wasn't able to practice much with the Roughnecks when out of the lineup.

Things changed during the off-season as Dobbie played senior lacrosse with Coquitlam and he excelled.

He came into Riggers camp in better shape and impressed coach Troy Cordingley.

"The guys earn everything they get with me," Cordingley said.


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