All-star connection

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

A couple of Edmonton Rush players squeezed in an extra game during the preseason.

Transition players Ian Hawksbee and Brodie Merrill were in Melbourne, Australia, at the beginning of the year for the annual all-star game.

"We were there for two games and a couple of camps just promoting lacrosse," said Hawksbee, a Rush defenceman in his fifth NLL season. "The field game down there is really huge and the indoor is just starting to catch on."

Merrill, a transition player, is joining the Rush from the now-defunct Portland LumberJax.

'RIVALRY GAMES'

"I didn't really know Brodie too well before that, just from a couple of Mann Cup battles that we've had and a couple of Edmonton-Portland rivalry games," Hawksbee said. "We always go at each other hard, but it was nice to play on the same team and kind of get to know him and talk about the upcoming season and getting to play together instead of against each other."

Although there's nothing like an all-star game to showcase a sport's top talent, Hawksbee said it wasn't his favourite event.

"Being a defender, it's tough being in an all-star game," he said. "They want to see a lot of goals, trick shots and all that stuff so it was just kind of going through the motions, but it was a lot of fun. It was a good experience."

The only other game Hawksbee played over the preseason was the exhibition match against the Calgary Roughnecks, who are a target for the Rush this season.

'BATTLE OF ALBERTA'

"Absolutely, not just because they're the defending champs, but because of the Battle of Alberta," Hawksbee said. "It's pretty special to be a part of that and you can just feel the energy in the building when you're playing them - that everyone from Edmonton doesn't like Calgary. And vice versa when you're in Calgary I definitely hear the boos and the chirps.

"It kind of motivates you so it's good."


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