After losing nine games in a row to open the regular season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders hope to pick up their second win in a row against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Riders have traveled east to the Manitoba capital for the annual Banjo Bowl rematch at Investors Group Field.
After weeks of frustration and disappointment, the Riders finally got on the board last week with their first win of the season – a win that definitely lifted the spirits of many inside and outside of the locker room.
“(We) definitely got the monkey off our back. I just feel like we’re relaxed now and ready to go and ready to have fun,” said receiver Naaman Roosevelt.
“I think that’s the main thing with practice this week. We’re just having fun now. Understanding that we’re not satisfied with this win.”
The Riders biggest challenge this week is complacency; not that Riders are in a position to take any team lightly, but it’s difficult to play a team in back-to-back weeks. As a team, you know that what you did the week before isn’t likely to work again as the other team will adjust to you.
At the same time, you have to be ready for the opposition to bring something different to the table as well.
“It’s kind of a mind game. We see something, they see something. They might switch it up, we might switch it up. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Roosevelt.
Keeping emotions in check
Toward the end of the Labour Day Classic, things started to get a little heated on the field.
Beyond the usual trash talk, there were some flags for some rough play. The winner of Banjo Bowl very well could be the team that’s able to keep their emotions in check, especially early in the game.
“I expect things to be (more) amped up than they were the first time. That’s where being a vet you have to keep a cool head and know the team is above all else,” said defensive lineman Tearrius George.
There’s a pretty good chance that the Bombers were trying to send a message late in last week’s game. That message being the Bombers weren’t going to lay down and be ready for another battle this week.
“Most definitely, I felt the same way in a couple of the games we played. I wouldn’t expect anything other than that with them being professionals and them being their in, us being in the position we’re in. You’re going to get some of that heated turmoil there,” said George.
Last week, George battled all game long against former teammate Dominic Picard. The Bombers centre certainly has a reputation that follows him around the league. George admits he’s starting to see what others are saying.
That being said, he knows that whatever happens on the other side of the line, he can’t react negatively.
“Second man always gets caught, like your mom used to tell you – someone hit you and you hit them back, second man gets caught,” he said.
“Know that the win is more important than any personal skirmish you got going on during the game.”
Not many changes to the Riders roster this week as the team goes with a pretty similar lineup to the one we saw last week.
Added to the roster:
- Defensive lineman Markus White
Removed from the roster:
- Linebacker Nehemie Kankolongo
After being a scratch last week, defensive back Paul Woldu will play this week. Defensive back Mark Legree and running back Steven Miller will likely be the team’s scratches.
The Green Zone 10-Hour Game Day begins at 12:30 p.m. News Talk Radio with Game Day with Wray followed by the Green Zone Pre-Game Show.
During the game, stay up-to-date an informed with Scotty and the King on the Fan Zone.
After the game, it’s your turn to be the star by calling the Green Zone Post-Game Show at 1-877-300-7275.