No brotherly love

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

HAMILTON -- When the clock expires tonight at Ivor Wynne Stadium, the fun may just be starting for the Argos and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

One of the best rivalries in sports has picked up steam in the past three regular-season games, all of which featured dramatic post-game fireworks.

One day, the Ticats complain about Ricky Williams getting meaningless touches to try to get 100 yards and a touchdown in his CFL debut. Another day, then-Argos offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin and Ticats defensive co-ordinator Kavis Reed engage in a lively verbal battle on the field. And then there was the time Argos return specialist Bashir Levingston fired his helmet into the crowd at Ivor Wynne.

With a near-sellout crowd expected for tonight's showdown for third place in the CFL East, who knows what will transpire this time around?

"As far as all the crazy stuff that goes on with it, it's just because of the close proximity and hatred these two teams have had for a long time," Argos defensive end Jonathan Brown said. "The games with Hamilton are always fun. I love coming here."

Ticats running back Josh Ranek, the reigning CFL offensive player of the week, added some fuel to the fire yesterday when he reminisced about the Argos' decision to keep giving Williams the ball late in a 2006 season opener that already was decided in Toronto's favour.

"A memory that stuck to my mind from this year was when we played down there, the game was over and they tried to run the ball and score a touchdown," Ranek said. "I couldn't believe it, I could not believe it. But I've been a part of that going back to my college days. When you play against that one team, you do everything you can to run up the score or whatever. It doesn't matter."

Later, Ticats coach Ron Lancaster spoke his mind and raised eyebrows when responding to a question about the well-documented Argos injury woes. Clearly he is sick of that storyline.

"I don't buy any of that stuff by any football team," Lancaster said. "There are very few football teams that are playing football when they play week after week after week that are 100%. Do they have their injuries? That's life. Every year, somebody is going to go through a tough year injury-wise. If it's their year to do it, that's too bad. I can't do anything about it. All I know is when they come in here is if they don't limp in, we'd like them to limp out."

Perhaps the most exciting part of all is the actual game, which appears to be an evenly-matched confrontation.

"We're fighting to see who's not the worst right now -- in terms of records," Ticats defensive lineman Adriano Belli said.

The grudge promises to heat up in the near future. The teams renew acquaintances for the annual Labour Day game in Hamilton and then play again five days later at the Rogers Centre.


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