Roughnecks vs Panthers at the 'Dome

By: Riley Pollock – 29.04.24

It was an early end to the year for the Roughnecks.

Far too early for their liking.

It’s been just over a week since their season concluded with a 11-9 win over Panther City in the regular-season finale at the Rough House.

The Riggers finished 8-10 on the season, a record which has gotten them into the playoffs a couple of times during their stretch of 18 playoff appearances in the 21 seasons since they joined the league.

This season, they were one win shy of the postseason and will look to make some slight changes heading into next year to avoid a repeat early exit.

Roughnecks General Manager Mike Board spoke on what needs to change.

“We need to be more consistent throughout our game,” he said. “Get rid of the lulls on offence and keep the foot on the gas; defensively playing two-hand tough all the time and improving special teams which are so important.”

Head Coach Josh Sanderson echoed that sentiment.

“We showed spurts of consistency but at the end of the day we were just a little too inconsistent at times,” explained Sanderson. “We need to get our bodies ready for a full season. It’s a grind of a year so hopefully everyone is really motivated to come back even stronger and work on their game, whether they are playing in the summer for another team and we just want a really motivated group coming back.”

The Roughnecks are looking at potential top-five pick in the upcoming NLL draft, a spot they are not accustomed to. The Riggers took Tanner Cook at five in 2020, the last time they had a pick in that slot.

Board says a high pick will obviously be beneficial.

“We are a team that builds through the draft so having a higher pick than we have had in recent years is something to look forward to,” he said. “We will be meeting as a group, along with our scouts, very soon to identify players and get out to see them play and meet with them.”

With former draftees such as Cook, Zach Currier, Tyler Pace, Seth Van Schepen, Liam LcClair, Haiden Dickson, Harrison Matsuoka and others all taken in the first round by the Roughnecks, it’s easy to see why there is excitement around the upcoming pick.

Many of the players on that list took big steps this season for the Roughnecks, maybe none bigger than LeClair and Matsuoka.

“I thought those two were really good,” said Sanderson. “I thought a lot of guys played really well. I did like a lot of the guys’ games. Like I said, as a team, I thought we were a little too inconsistent but a lot of our players had really good years, especially Liam and Harry.”

With the offseason looming it will be interesting to see what moves and changes this Roughnecks group makes as they look to compete for another NLL Championship next season.

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