Rivals set to rumble

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:23 PM ET

MONTREAL -- Gentlemen, holster your fingers and come out fighting.

The last time these two CFL teams met, the Blue Bombers went down in a blaze of smokin' fingers, with the Alouettes remaining the top gunslingers in the country.

But the Als have lost five challenges since then and the Bombers are back for another showdown today at high noon in a corral known as Percy Molson Stadium.

And new fuel has been added to this rivalry.

"They ran the score up on us a little the last time so that's definitely going to give us some added incentive," Winnipeg linebacker Barrin Simpson said yesterday. "I guess they felt the points were important but hey, to each his own. But it's time to play again. The rivalry is back at hand. So we're going to come out with some fire and try to get this game."

BOMBED

Montreal bombed the Bombers 44-16 in Winnipeg, a game that ended with both Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry and defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall shooting their fingers at the Als' bench, enraged by a late score.

"Watching the film and seeing how they treated us last game, it burns," said Winnipeg defensive end Tom Canada. "I remember how badly we wanted to play them right after the game. But it kind of settles down after so many weeks. And now, after watching the film, it kind of gets you juiced up again.

"As much as that fuels a team, it's important for us to keep our heads about us. Use the last game as a motivation, but don't let it get too over the top. We've just gotta play good football."

Veteran Montreal centre Bryan Chiu is relishing this rivalry that was established long before Berry rode into town.

"It's great for the league and it's great for the CFL," he said. "The Bombers have been a surprise in this league this year. We just have to go out and play football because we know that they want payback. They want to come into our house and beat us and we can't let that happen because this is a very important game for us."

Then he added: "You tell Berry I'm going to come get him (today)."

Montreal, 7-5, is just two points up on Winnipeg, 6-7, but has a game in hand. This will be the first of back-to-back games with Winnipeg playing host to the Larks this Friday.

"This is a big-time game," Simpson said. "And we'll be separating the men from the boys these next two games."

That will start with the men engineering the drives.

"We're passionate about playing this game," said Winnipeg quarterback Kevin Glenn. "This is a very important game ... They're struggling right now but they're a great football team. We're not treating this as a Montreal team that lost the last five. We're treating it like the Montreal team that won seven in a row and they're going to have added incentive because they're in front of their home crowd."

But since the Bombers have only won one of their last six, you would think the Alouettes would be salivating over an easy way to stop their skid.

"The way we've been playing, no," said Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo. "Not yet, because we know they're fighting for a playoff spot. The East is wide open right now. Anyone can claim first place. We want to get back on the winning track and we've got two games against Winnipeg so I'm never going to underestimate an opponent. I've got a lot of respect for Winnipeg."


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