December 2, 2017 12:42 am
Updated: December 2, 2017 8:46 pm

Team Laycock hands last rock duties to Dunstone ahead of Olympic curling trials

WATCH ABOVE: With the Canadian Olympic curling trials set to begin Saskatoon's Team Laycock has shuffled its lineup in an attempt to put each player in the best position to succeed.

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A chance to compete at the Olympics doesn’t come around very often and Saskatoon’s curling hopefuls are pulling out all the stops in hopes of wearing the Maple Leaf in 2018.

Skip Steve Laycock has thrown last rock for his Nutana Curling Club foursome since he put the team together, but when the Roar of the Rings begins this weekend he will be throwing third.

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Matt Dunstone will take over last rock duties while third Kirk Muyres moves to second to make way for Laycock.

“It was actually my idea. I just kinda looked at, take the emotion out of it, what logically made sense for this group and this was the conclusion I think we all came to,” Laycock said.

“When we looked at the game plan we’re going to employ we’re probably going to be doing a lot of the attacking on third stones and the shots that we looked at that position was going to be playing were the ones that I typically excelled at when I was skipping.”

Dunstone, who replaced Colton Flasch on the squad in March, is no stranger to the pressure that comes with his new role. He skipped for 15 years prior to joining Team Laycock, winning two national junior titles under the flag of his home province of Manitoba.

“You almost kind of feel like you have the game in your control throwing the last two shots that kind of make or break an end so I’ve always enjoyed that part of the game,” he said.

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The group will have Pat Simmons as its alternate for the Olympic trials. He has experience with a similar lineup change in another high-stakes event.

Simmons was the third for Team Canada at the 2015 Tim Horton’s Brier. When the team faltered out of the gate he and skip John Morris switched spots. The move paid off in a big way as the team went on to win the championship.

“Sometimes it’s not a bad thing because it just brings back some focus to all that little stuff … all the little things and at an event like this coming up, that’s always a good thing,” he said.

Laycock, who will continue to call the game from his third position, is looking forward to seeing what the new-look lineup can do over the next 10 days.

“We certainly aren’t being weighted down by expectations from ourselves or others so we’re just gonna go out there and perform well and see how that stacks up, and the past would show that we’re capable of beating all these teams. We’ve gotta do it all in the right week now.”

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