He arrived Justin time

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

When Justin Palardy showed up in Winnipeg on a cold, windy and rainy morning in mid-August, his goal was to beat out two other players to be the fill-in until the regular kicker got healthy.

A month later, he is the new No. 1 -- and only -- placekicker for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The CFL squad made Palardy their official booter of the ball on Wednesday morning when they released Louie Sakoda.

Sakoda was supposed to replace Alexis Serna, who was released on Aug. 10, but he pulled a calf muscle on his kicking leg in the warmup before what was supposed to be his debut three days later.

Palardy won the job in a kicking competition against Warren Kean and Ryan Elaschuk, and he proceeded to make seven of his first eight field goal attempts in Blue and Gold.

It's been quite the ride for Palardy, who started the season as the Hamilton Tiger- Cats punter. He was released, however, after having two punts blocked in his first five games.

So when the 22-year-old showed up in Winnipeg that dismal August morning, his goals were modest. He wasn't thinking about becoming the team's No. 1 placekicker.

"I didn't want to think that far ahead," Palardy said. "I was more worried about maki ng the team, beating out Kean and Ryan and whoever else was here.

"The way I approached this was day by day, and I'm going to continue to do that day by day and continue to get better."

Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice said early on during Palardy's temp stint that the team was still very high on Sakoda. That changed after watching Palardy boot the ball over the last four games.

"Justin's kicked very well for us," LaPolice said. "He's working to get better at his kickoffs, but his field goals have been very good. He's put himself in a position to stay on the roster. I don't even know if Louie would've kicked this week.

"He's got a good percentage, and he kicked a 37-yard field goal into a hell of a wind two weeks ago that could've gone from 47 maybe. He's getting better."

Palardy has connected on seven of eight attempts, his only miss being a 42-yarder in the Labour Day Classic.

Even better for the Bombers is Palardy's Canadian, which means they can use an American elsewhere in the lineup instead.

Palardy, showing a flash of the confidence that a kicker needs, said he had a feeling he was going to be anointed the permanent kicker.

"I was finally finding my rhythm and hitting the ball well, so I just had a feeling that I was going to be their guy," he said.

"I was happy. Now nothing changes. I'm just going to continue to do what I did the last four weeks, get ready for Montreal on Friday and get this win."


Videos

Photos