Sibling gridiron rivalry getting stoked up again

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

There is much more on Brock Ralph's mind today than just the Calgary Stampeders' defensive schemes.

Ralph arrived in Calgary yesterday with the rest of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, leaving his pregnant wife Kasha at home.

She is due at any moment with the couple's second child and he hopes she doesn't go into labour while he's away.

Trips to Alberta are always special for Ralph, especially because he gets to face his younger brother Brett, but this one is a little bit tense.

"We're definitely all anxious this week -- a new baby, Game 1 of the season and a lot of family and friends in Calgary," said the Raymond, Alta., product. "There's a lot going on right now but it's good stuff."

Both Ralph brothers head into crucial seasons of their CFL careers, as Brock is the only returning member of the Ticats receiving corps, while Brett is getting a more expanded role within the Stamps' offence.

There is a chance Brock doesn't make it to the field tonight if he gets the call from back home saying the baby is ready to arrive and he has to jet back to Hamilton.

But this will be the fifth time the Ralphs have faced each other in the CFL and, to the best of Brett's recollection, they've never been on the field at the same time.

With all that's going on in Brock's life, he's excited to see Brett become a bigger part of the Stampeders plans.

"He is definitely capable, so it's nice to see him get the opportunity," Brock said of Brett, who had his second child early in training camp.

"They are definitely loaded here with receivers and experienced players. He's in a little bit of a tough situation but he's a guy who's reliable and can get the job done.

"I know he's anxious and excited about his role here. Last year, he wasn't on the field as much as he wanted to be."

Brett has always looked up to his big brother and would call the chance to play with him 'a dream come true' but he also knows Brock's success tonight won't be good for his team.

"I'm his No. 1 fan. When you play him, you want your own team to do well but when we're not playing him, I'm rooting for him," said Brett, who's in his third year in the league.

The Ticats suffered through a rough 4-14 season last year when Brock only caught 41 passes for 457 yards.

Hamilton went through a purge of veterans and Brock is the only receiver from last year to return under new head coach Charlie Taaffe.

Taaffe said Brock is set for a huge year and the 26-year-old doesn't mind being a leader on offence.


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