The show's the goal for Rush

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:28 PM ET

With last year’s inaugural playoff run behind them, the Edmonton Rush are more than happy to turn their full attention onto making another run at the Champion’s Cup.

With their 2011 campaign getting underway Saturday on the road against the Toronto Rock, the Rush have given their opponents no choice but to treat them as contenders this season.

Last year was a season of firsts for the Rush, who not only reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but earned their first playoff victory and ended up an overtime goal away from hosting the Champion’s Cup, after putting together a club-best 10-6 record.

“When we came in here, it had been a tough four years prior to and there had been a couple of regimes,” said Rush head coach and general manager Derek Keenan, who is the mastermind behind the franchise’s quick turnaround. “I came in and tried not to overhaul everything, but at the same time you have to realize there hadn’t been success.

“You take it to the first level of success, which is we were competitive most nights, we finished 10-6, we made the playoffs. What’s the next step? Well for us, we were an overtime goal away from hosting the final. So the next step is pretty obvious: to get to the show, maybe have it at home.”

As for the roster he assembled, Keenan’s crew didn’t need much convincing of their potential. Despite the success the team had in comparison to past years, Rush captain Brodie Merrill said their potential has yet to be fully realized.

“In all honesty, it was great to have a big turnaround and make the playoffs, but we’re really disappointed that we didn’t win,” said Merrill, who earned the NLL Transition Player of the Year honour for the second time in his career. “That was our goal throughout the season and now, hopefully, we can get to the next level.”

– Moddejonge


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