Rock coach motivated

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

Jamie Batley has but one simple wish for the Toronto Rock on Saturday night.

"We want our guys to work hard," Batley said. "I've always asked my players to do that no matter where I have been.

"We have a lot of experience at every position, and it's my job to find what motivates each individual."

Batley took over as head coach of the Rock nine days ago and in 48 hours in Rochester, will go behind the bench for the first time with Toronto when it visits the Knighthawks. Batley, who also has coached in Colorado and Chicago, has assumed guidance of a team that is 1-2 and has had trouble scoring goals.

But the Rock should get a boost with Craig Conn, who will travel with the team to upper-state New York and could make his Toronto debut.

A two-time National Lacrosse League all-star, Conn missed the 2008 season with a knee injury and was picked up by the Rock in the dispersal draft last June.

In 2007, Conn, a native of St. Catharines, helped lead Arizona to an appearance in the league final and tied for the playoff scoring lead with 19 points.

In 57 career NLL games, Conn has 224 points (104 goals and 120 assists).

"Our expectation is he will be available and we're hoping he will play," Batley said. "He's one of those guys who takes pride in getting the ball in one-on-one situations.

"He can dish the ball and he's a great player when he has it."

What could work in the Rock's favour is a dismal start by the Knighthawks, who are 0-4 for the first time in franchise history and are the lone NLL team which has not won a game in 2009.

The Knighthawks will induct former coach Paul Day and forwards Tim Soudan and Duane Jacobs as the first three members of their Hall of Fame prior to the 7:35 p.m. start.

The Knighthawks have had just as much trouble putting the ball in the net as the Rock, averaging just eight goals a game.

And no other team has given up as many goals as the 63 that have been allowed by Rochester.

But in losing 8-7 to New York last week, goalie Pat O'Toole was strong in his first game of the season and put a charge in his teammates' confidence.

"We think the defence will be the strong point," Knighthawks coach Paul Gait said.

"Where we have to improve is on transition of offence. We've been getting some pretty decent shots, but the real issue is being able to put the ball in the net."


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