Of all the new guys fighting for final spots on the roster during training camp, rookie Matthew Dinsdale knew best what was ahead.
The 21-year-old had already been through a few of Curt Malawsky training camps back in the days of the Coquitlam Adanacs in the BCJALL.
With Malawsky the lead man behind the bench, Dinsdale excelled at an almost five points a game clip — firing 238 points over 47 games in the last two seasons.
He knew what the Riggers new bench boss wanted, and it wasn’t easy.
“He’s a hard coach and he expects the best out of his players,” explained Dinsdale, a kinesiology student spending his weekdays in Vancouver. “He expects perfection and he knows how to get the best out of you and he definitely knows the game really well.”
Dinsdale, a native of Coquitlam, B.C., said he was hoping to see his name called by the Roughnecks during the 2012 NLL Entry Draft, but had no assurances from Malawsky. He said he had only talked to general manager Mike Board a few weeks before the event.
Luckily, he didn’t have to wait long on draft day with his name being called sixth overall, right after the Riggers selected fellow rookie Joe Resetarits.
Malawsky spoke highly of Dinsdale that night, saying he expects the 21-year-old to feature a long career in the NLL.
“Good people make good teams and Matthew is a great teammate and a great person. He works very hard at the gym and has a very high lacrosse IQ,” added Malawsky.
“He knows what’s to be expected of him in Calgary.”
After a successful training camp, Dinsdale became one of five new faces on the Riggers roster, including three rookies.
With a fairly young yet experienced squad, Dinsdale won’t be called up to play a major role as he learns the ropes. Instead, he’ll likely be brought along slowly as he grows more accustomed to the fast paced game.
After racking up points in bunches playing junior, Dinsdale has been asked to perform a different role on both ends of the floor with the Roughnecks, something he’s more than happy to do.
“I’m comfortable playing any role that they give me,” he explained. “I just want to be in the lineup, I want to be on the team, if that means playing defence and pushing the ball, I’m happy to do that.
“I worked hard in junior to try and be more of an overall player who can come in and fit any spot. Obviously, I’m very comfortable offensively but I worked hard on being better defensively.“
In his inaugural NLL game, he had the makings of what could have been a highlight reel goal. On the defensive side, he broke up the play and sped on his way to a breakaway. He saw flashes of mesh behind Toronto Rock goalie Nick Rose, but unfortunately couldn’t put it past the former Roughneck. Instead, he finished the game with only a couple of loose balls on the score sheet.
“It was pretty surreal coming in, walking through the tunnel to the crowd. I was a little nervous, a little excited,” he said about his debut.
He followed that up with a strong defensive game against the Colorado Mammoth, a game that saw him play key defensive minutes down the stretch.