Sanderson sets sights on bigger prize

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Once again, setup ace Josh Sanderson has been singled out as one of the National Lacrosse League's top players.

The rest of his Calgary Roughnecks teammates were shut out of the annual All-Pro awards yesterday, but Sanderson insists that will be irrelevant if his squad can claim the NLL's ultimate prize tomorrow.

"We've had some guys that have had some great years that probably deserve to be recognized, but it's all about trying to win (tomorrow), and I think everybody on our team will be saying the same thing," Sanderson said. "It's all about winning and then, if we had a successful season, personally everybody will have had a successful season. It just doesn't even faze me."

An All-Pro nomination is a nice feather in the cap, but the league won't be delivering any plaques or trophies to the dozen players honoured yesterday.

They'll be handing out the ultimate prize tomorrow night at the Saddledome, when the Riggers host the New York Titans in the Champion's Cup showdown.

There'll be three All-Pros on the floor in the winner-take-all final, including a pair on the visitors' bench.

Titans' sniper Casey Powell, Dan Dawson of the Boston Blazers and Colin Doyle of the San Jose Stealth headline the first All-Pro team, while Portland Lumberjax transition specialist Brodie Merrill and defender Billy Dee Smith and goaltender Ken Montour of the Buffalo Bandits also earned spots on the top unit.

Sanderson is on the second all-star squad with Titans forward Jordan Hall, Bandits teammates John Tavares and Mark Steenhuis, Rochester Knighthawks rearguard Mac Allen and Blazers netminder Anthony Cosmo.

Jeff Moleski, who anchors the Riggers' pressure defence, is the most glaring omission. He finished third in the voting.

"Whatever. It doesn't bother me," Moleski said.

"I don't think anyone has thought a lot about the personal stuff.

"Our whole focus is winning a championship."

Sanderson erased his own single-season assists record in his first full campaign in Calgary, collecting 74 helpers to finish tied atop the NLL charts with Dawson.

Other Roughnecks also made a case for a spot on the All-Pro teams.

Tracey Kelusky, Kaleb Toth and Dane Dobbie all put up impressive offensive numbers, while Moleski and Andrew McBride were standouts on the league's most stingy defence corps.

"Tracey, Dane, Moleski, McBride ... We have a bunch of guys that probably deserve it, but it doesn't matter," Sanderson said.

"Whether I'm on there or not on there, it doesn't even matter. We're trying to win a game.

"We're in the business of winning and that's all we're trying to do. The personal stuff, it probably means more when you're done playing."


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