Unless if your team name is the Toronto Rock, it’s been proven increasingly difficult to repeat as an NLL champion.
The Roughnecks felt the wrath of that after they won the 2004 title, their first in franchise history.
Over the next four years, the Roughnecks took one step back each season, falling from 10-6 in 2005 to 7-9 in 2008.
Changes were made both on the floor and in the front office. Chris Hall was fired as head coach, replaced by Jeff Dowling and later Troy Cordingley. Kurt Silcott was hired and fired as general manger.
Players like Matt King, Curtis Palidwor, Jason Wulder, Taylor Wray all found themselves in different uniforms.
“We were always a family. Not just the player, but including the coaches and GMs, we were pretty tight,” Toth admitted.
“Whenever someone gets fired, it’s never an easy thing because it’s not necessarily their fault all the time. When Chris got fired, it was more of a team thing, we were not playing well.
But the next generation of players started joining the Roughnecks; people like Dane Dobbie, Jeff Shattler, Mike and Scott Carnegie, and Nolan Heavenor.
And the second biggest deal in franchise history, besides only the Toth deal, netted the Roughnecks the last piece to the puzzle.
Sharpshooter Lewis Ratcliff was sent out east to Toronto partway through the 2008 season, with assist machine Josh Sanderson coming back the other way.
“They wanted to change it up. They wanted to change something,” said Toth about the Roughnecks management. “I think Lewis needed a fresh start somewhere and we needed to make sure we had a good player in return.
“Josh was struggling in Toronto, he needed a change too. It made good sense in their minds to swap two all-stars and it worked out for both teams.”
Josh’s dad Terry was also an assistant coach with the Roughnecks at the time.
With Josh on the left side, the Roughnecks had the pieces in place for one last run at the NLL title.