Sports Football

Bombers need rallying point to salvage season

Jonathan Hefney (QMI Agency)

Jonathan Hefney (QMI Agency)


Put up or shut up.

The task is very simple for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday as they face the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday in the 9th annual Banjo Bowl and back end of the home-and-home series between Prairie rivals.

It really is that simple for the Blue and Gold.

It's all well and good to talk about having time to salvage the season and having more talent than their 2-7 record at the CFLs midway point, but it's time for the Blue Bombers to start proving it.

Sooner than later, words begin to ring hollow.

It's clearly time for action.

On the heels of a 52-0 humiliation at the hands of the Green Riders last weekend, the Blue Bombers need to give themselves a reason to believe.

The only way to do that is to come up with a W against the Riders.

Motivation shouldn't be hard to come by, as the Blue Bombers recognize the magnitude of the game ahead.

"There ain't a revenge factor, we're just looking for a win," said Blue Bombers defensive back Jonathan Hefney. "Any way we can do it. We've got to fight. Bite, scratch, break legs, whatever we have to do, we've got to get a win."

Neither team is expected to pull any punches, if you will.

"In our locker room, we know what we've got," said Hefney. "We're just ready to put on a show and surprise everybody."

It should be a raucous crowd on hand Sunday afternoon, as several thousand Mellon-wearing Rider fans invade Canad Inns Stadium, looking for another opportunity to celebrate a rare series sweep.

Bomber fans, meanwhile, are still searching for that one rallying point that just might turn their miserable season around.

"It's like a college rivalry game to us — that's how I look at it," said Hefney, who played in plenty of them at Tennessee during his NCAA career. "I've never beat Saskatchewan. Not since I've been here. It's only been three years."

But the way Hefney sees it, that's three years too many without the elusive victory.

There's been a lot of noise coming out of Maroons Road, including general manager Joe Mack facing the media and essentially directing the blame to others.

It was an odd approach, but his 23-minute press conference will have absolutely no bearing on what goes down Sunday afternoon.

This is all about the players taking pride in being a professional athlete and trying to bounce back after getting your butt royally kicked.

"If you have any competitive edge inside of you, you never want to walk on the field thinking you're going to lose," said Blue Bombers quarterback Joey Elliott. "That's not why you play the sport. You always want to step on the field knowing you have a chance to win and you're going to win. Hopefully, the outcome is in your favour."

The time for excuses has passed.

Getting the job done is the only thing that matters.

"This game means a lot to us, the city and the organization," said Elliott. "It's always going to be a statement game, as long as I'm going to be here."