Centre passes football trial by fire

DEREK JORY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:15 AM ET

Ryan Donnelly did his best and--considering the situation -- that's all the Winnipeg Blue Bombers could ask for.

They'll be asking for more from him against the Montreal Alouettes this Friday, though.

Donnelly, a six-year CFL offensive lineman, became the emergency replacement for centre Dominic Picard in the first quarter of Winnipeg's Week 1 loss to Toronto when Picard suffered a high ankle sprain in the opening quarter.

It was his first time ever snapping footballs to a quarterback and he and Kevin Glenn were clearly not on the same page at times during the game. Donnelly will most likely be asked to play the position again against the Als and Glenn is confident in his new centre's abilities.

"He's going to get better, he'll be the first one to tell you that he wasn't snapping very good, but it was the first time he's ever done it and he was kind of thrown into the fire in that situation," said Glenn.

"He did a better job in the second half than he did in the first half and that just came with repetitions so I've got faith in Ryan and he has faith in himself. The good thing about this team is that everyone has faith in each other and we all know he'll have success this next game."

MONTREAL CALLING: One of the teams that expressed interest in landing the services of defensive end Tom Canada this past off-season was the Montreal Alouettes. They were unsuccessful in luring Canada away from Winnipeg, but will it be weird for the 28-year-old to play in Montreal this weekend?

"I really don't think so," said Canada. "Sometimes you wonder what it would have been like, but I have no regrets in the decision I made, I'm super happy to be where I am and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but Winnipeg."

Canada left the negotiating to his agent and the talks never went far enough for No.44 to make a visit out east. That's just fine with him because of how much he loves playing in Winnipeg.

"The city, the fans, the guys I work with, the staff, the community, everything about Winnipeg I really like and I couldn't ask for a better place to be."

LABATTE SETTLING IN: With Matt Sheridan out of the lineup against Toronto, rookie offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte got his first taste of CFL action this past weekend and he's pleased with his performance.

"I thought it went all right," said the 21-year-old. "I'm disappointed in the final result but on a personal level I felt all right.

LaBatte appeared cool, calm and collected throughout the game, despite being a little jittery to start.

"I usually don't get very nervous but I was a little more nervous than usual. I did feel a little bit of the pressure right before we went out. Then after the first play everything settled down and I felt alright out there after that."

WILSON A TABBY: Former Bombers receiver O'Neil Wilson, who was let go after training camp, has found a home in Hamilton.

The native of Scarborough, Ont. signed with the Tiger-Cats yesterday, his third team in five years. Before playing for Winnipeg last season -- he had 38 receptions for 366 yards and no scores -- he was in Montreal for three seasons.

Wilson joins a receiving crew that includes Tony Miles, Pat Woodcock and Brandon's Chris Bauman.

HIT THE ROAD: The Bombers practise today before leaving Thursday morning for Montreal.


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