It's payback time

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:30 PM ET

They have waited an entire week to apply the salve to this festering wound.

The Blue Bombers were sent reeling when Saskatchewan scored the winning touchdown with six seconds left to give the Roughriders a cutting come-from-behind 31-26 victory over Winnipeg in the Labour Day Classic in Regina.

The Bombers hope to rebound from blowing that one when they host their Prairie rivals in the fourth annual Banjo Bowl at Canad Inns Stadium today at 3 p.m.

"After watching the film and letting it all sink in, the sting has not left and we're definitely going to be motivated out there," Bomber defensive end Tom Canada said yesterday. "We're definitely going to erase that sting (today)."

This match features the respective first-place teams in the CFL. The Riders are riding high with a 7-2 record atop the West after rattling off five straight wins. Winnipeg leads the East at 5-3-1 despite the loss. But both Montreal and now, Toronto, are breathing down the Bombers' backs.

Winnipeg has already sold out its fifth straight game and the crowd should be just as raucous as the one in Regina.

"It's just a real good week for the two provinces for football," said Bomber placekicker Troy Westwood, who is responsible for naming today's Banjo Bowl. "It's as it should be."

But what's not as it should be is the Bomber record after choking last week.

"The attitude of our team is, the number .500 just isn't going to register with anyone," Westwood said. "We have high expectations and, regardless of what happens (today), we still feel that we're a very good team, and I think the rest of the province agrees with that.

"There's just a great deal of excitement riding with this team, and I think we're going to meet those expectations."

But the Riders are well aware that Winnipeg is seeking revenge.

"We're coming off a big win against a good football team," said Saskatchewan quarterback Kerry Joseph, who scored that winning TD on a 27-yard romp last week. "We know the re-match is not going to be easy. We know they're going to be ready to play in their home place. But we're looking forward to the challenge and we know it's going to be a good football game."

But Bomber signal-caller Kevin Glenn just wants to return to the team's winning ways.

'FORGOTTEN'

"It's not necessarily payback, we just want to go out and win the football game," Glenn said. "We've forgotten about that game last week and we've got to go out and play another one this week.

"We still did some good things (last week). We're still confident in what we have to do as a team on both offence and defence. Now, we just want to put it out on the field."

The Bombers will also be inspired by the return of cornerback Juran Bolden and strong-side linebacker Ike Charlton from the NFL.

"It's like welcoming two friends back into the fold," Westwood said. "It's a tremendous boost to an already-strong team, and I think the results are going to be obvious."

Saskatchewan offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek knows what both Bolden and Charlton can do.

"I played with Juran in '01 and he pretty much shut down half the field," said the former Bomber. "And I know what Charlton can do from being here last year. But it doesn't affect me at all ... I'll have my hands full with Doug Brown, Jerome Haywood and Barrin Simpson."


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