Retaliation on Bombers’ minds

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:36 AM ET

Lookout, the Steeltown boat people are back in town fishing for another win.

That would be the Hamilton Tiger-Cats who snuffed out Winnipeg’s last playoff hopes with a 39-17 triumph in the Blue Bombers’ own backyard last year, then rubbed it in by jumping in a fishing boat that was on display just beyond the north-side endzone before the contest was even over.

Winnipeg plays host to the Tiger-Cats in their CFL season-opener at Canad Inns Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m., and at least some of the Bombers will have revenge on their minds.

“Most definitely,” Bomber linebacker Ike Charlton affirmed Thursday. “I didn’t like that at all. They beat us for the money, got a chance to go to the next round and go to the playoffs. They came in here and celebrated on our field and personally, I don’t think they’re taking us seriously.

“We know they’re a good team. They’ve come a long way and they’ve earned the right to be considered the favourites for the game, but we’ll be ready to go.”

Charlton, however, shrugged off the boat jumping.

“It was a loss, that’s all I remember,” he said. “The game is all about having fun. If you’re not having fun, don’t play the game. But the most important thing is they got the W and we got the L … They had fun and they won the game, plain and simple.”

Even some of the ’Cats expect the Bombers to be out for blood.

“I’m sure there’s going to be some animosity, we ended their season last year, and this is the first game since,” defensive end Justin Hickman told Ticats.ca.

“Of course, everyone remembers what happened last year,” said veteran Bomber centre Obby Khan. “They beat us and we didn’t make the playoffs and now, it’s a whole new year … I really couldn’t care less about what happened in Week 18 last year, it’s Week 1 of this year so, let’s move forward from there … It’s all about now.”

By the way, there will be no boat on display this year as that company no longer sponsors the Bombers.

“Don’t say they took the boat away!” objected Hamilton linebacker Otis Floyd, one of eight ’Cats who were fined for hopping into the boat. “The only way to keep us off the boat is don’t throw no picks to the end zone for six!

“Even if the boat is there, we’re going to leave the boat alone. We see those guys four or five times anyway so, we don’t want to stir up nothing.”

Rookie Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice does not believe last year’s loss should be added incentive for his troops.

“It might be for the veterans,” he said. “But we don’t believe too much in looking in the past for motivation.

“I don’t think you ever have a lot of success when you look into the past … I know some of the veteran players might have said something to each other, but it’s not something, as coaches, that we’re trying to instil.”

What they are trying to instil is the importance of beating the ’Cats, whom they face four times in the first seven weeks of the season.

“Home games are huge,” Khan said. “Divisional games are even huger, so this is a big game for us. It’s exciting to be able to open up in front of our great fans in our great city and … hopefully, get this season started right.”

Buck Pierce, who makes his debut as Winnipeg’s starting quarterback, concurred.

“Things are looking good,” he said. “ Week 1 is always a lot of anticipation, a lot of buildup. It’s been six months of off-season and a lot of changes, and everybody puts so much buildup on Week 1. We’re excited to get out there and just play again, and put some of our hard work to use.”

— With files from Kirk Penton


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