Playoff game in Big Smoke a thrill

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

Ontario is the official supplier of Canadian football players to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

This Sunday's East Division final against the Toronto Argonauts at Rogers Centre, therefore, will be a special homecoming for several players.

Bombers backup safety Jason Nugent, who's been excelling on special teams lately, grew up in nearby Scarborough, Ont., and the Argos were his favourite team growing up.

Now Nugent, in his first CFL post-season, will attempt to knock the Boatmen out of the playoffs.

"The Argos, that was my team," Nugent said. "I didn't really watch the NFL. I watched the CFL. Pinball (Clemons) was one of my favourite players growing up. Adrion Smith, too."

Nugent will have approximately 30 friends and family in the crowd on Sunday, and the other eight or nine Ontario-born Bombers who are expected to make the trip will likely attract similar gatherings.

"The last time I played in SkyDome (prior to this season) was my high school championship game," Nugent said. "Just growing up, that was the major, ultimate goal, just to get to the SkyDome.

"So now, going home, it kind of brings back jitters and nerves, just like when I was a kid."

KICKIN' IT: Punter Pat Fleming's injured groin hasn't healed, so Troy Westwood will do both the placekicking and the punting on Sunday.

Westwood was one of Winnipeg's stars in last Sunday's East semifinal win over Montreal, booting the game-winning, 20-yard field goal and punting seven times for a 47-yard average.

"I have a lot of confidence in Troy, with the wind factor especially," head coach Doug Berry said. "Now we're going into Toronto, and it's not like he's never done it. I'm confident with him."

The last time the Bombers were in Toronto, a 16-8 loss on Oct. 27, Berry didn't allow Westwood to attempt a 48-yard field goal out of fear Argos returner Dominque Dorsey would take a miss for a touchdown.

The same situation might apply this weekend.

"It all depends on the score," Berry said. "If we're up 21, probably we'd do it. Let's see if we can go up 24. If we're up three or down one, I'm not sure."

LATE HITS: Winnipeg linebacker Barrin Simpson is the CFL's defensive player of the week. Simpson played a key role in two third-and-one stops against the Alouettes on Sunday. Saskatchewan players took the other three awards: quarterback Kerry Joseph (offensive), placekicker Luca Congi (special teams) and slotback Andy Fantuz (Canadian) ... Bombers cornerback Juran Bolden (back) practised yesterday and declared himself ready to play Sunday. Defensive back Davin Bush (ankle) did some running but didn't take part in any drills ... Right guard Andrew Greene missed yesterday's practice with the flu but is expected to be back today ... Slotback Arjei Franklin went down late in yesterday's workout with a leg or ankle injury, but the team says he's fine ... The Bombers' final practice of the year at the Stadium -- and possibly Milt Stegall's last in Winnipeg -- begins today at 11:10 a.m.


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