Argonauts, Blue Bombers hold final practices ahead of Grey Cup matchup


The evening earlier than the Grey Cup provided Zach Collaros a possibility to make amends for the newest episodes of Gabby’s Dollhouse.

The CFL’s excellent participant the final two seasons deliberate to spend his Saturday evening together with his spouse, Nicole, younger daughters Sierra and Capri in addition to his in-laws. Following dinner, Collaros anticipated to sit down with Sierra and watch Gabby’s Dollhouse, an animated-interactive preschool collection.

It’s some welcomed household time for the veteran quarterback, who’ll lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers into the Grey Cup on Sunday versus the Toronto Argonauts at Mosaic Stadium. The West Division crew is chasing a 3rd straight CFL title.

“We’ll do dinner and all that [but] most likely a wholesome dose of watching Gabby’s Dollhouse and making an attempt to get Sierra to sit down in mattress for slightly bit,” Collaros mentioned Saturday following Winnipeg’s final walk-through. “Capri will let me hold her in order that’s good however we’ll attempt to get Sierra wound right down to learn some books to her [before bedtime].”

Winnipeg is available in because the heavy favorite after registering a CFL-best 15-3 regular-season report. Collaros repeated because the CFL’s high participant after profitable 15-of-17 begins and throwing a league-high 37 TDs.

But Collaros wasn’t alone. Tackle Stanley Bryant (lineman), receiver Dalton Schoen (rookie) and head coach Mike O’Shea (high coach) have been additionally honoured Thursday evening on the CFL awards banquet.

And even with three championships below his belt, Collaros anticipated to really feel some anxiousness earlier than Sunday’s contest.

“I’ve the identical emotions earlier than any recreation,” he mentioned. “You do not get many alternatives on this sport to exit and play and show your self.

“I definitely really feel these butterflies or some stage of anxiousness and pleasure.”

Winnipeg is trying to develop into the primary CFL crew to win three straight titles since Edmonton captured 5 consecutive Grey Cups (1978-82).

Toronto final received the Grey Cup in 2017 however has been victorious in its final six championship appearances.

O’Shea, 52, of North Bay, Ont., is a five-time Grey Cup champion as a participant (1996, ’97 and ’04 with Toronto), assistant coach (2012, Argos special-teams co-ordinator) and head coach. O’Shea mentioned no matter a person feels earlier than the Grey Cup, he would not imagine it is nerves.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea walks off the sector throughout a stroll by in Regina, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

“The attention-grabbing factor about many athletes is their physique will get able to run or to battle [and] you get that cost of adrenalin,” O’Shea mentioned. “I do not ever assume of it as nerves, I believe it is simply your physique on the brink of let you know to do one thing.”

O’Shea definitely is aware of that feeling properly. The six-foot-three, 228-pound linebacker performed 16 seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1993-95, 2000) and Toronto (1996-99, 2001-08). O’Shea appeared in 271 regular-season video games and accrued 1,151 tackles — probably the most by a Canadian and second in league historical past — earlier than being inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

So does O’Shea want he was enjoying Sunday?

“Yeah, most likely till the primary play,” he mentioned with a smile. “Then I’d be like, ‘You see my spot proper there on the bench by the heater?”‘

‘I am unable to escape that feeling’

Be it as a participant, coach or as a soccer fan, the Grey Cup will all the time be particular to O’Shea.

“When you see photos of earlier champions hoisting the Cup they usually’re consuming out of the identical Cup that in case you’re adequate that day, you will get an opportunity to drink out . . . it is fairly highly effective,” he mentioned. “There’s one thing about that, sharing the identical ardour, imaginative and prescient, need, purpose as guys did 109 years in the past, I am unable to escape that feeling.

“I do assume it is an ideal Canadian sporting occasion that individuals rejoice from coast to coast and have a superb time doing it. They create lots of recollections whereas they’re watching video games and celebrating. We cannot have a Grey Cup each week, it would lose its lustre, however you want extra of that in nations the place you get unified over one thing enjoyable. I like our league, it is the perfect league on this planet.”

After a cold week, a Mosaic Stadium sellout of over 33,000 spectators can count on considerably hotter gameday situations Sunday. The forecast is looking for a daytime excessive of -1C, falling to -11C within the night.

But will probably be windy, with gusts of 47 kilometres an hour through the day, decreasing to 38 km/h within the night.

“It’s not a shock that it is perhaps windy,” mentioned Collaros, a former Rider (2018-19). “We’re ready for no matter aspect Mother Nature brings to us.”

Toronto head coach Ryan Dinwiddie, who was Winnipeg’s quarterback in its ’07 Grey Cup loss to Saskatchewan, additionally downplayed the influence the wind may need.

Toronto Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie chats with large receiver Brandon Banks throughout a stroll by in Regina. Toronto final received the Grey Cup in 2017 however has been victorious in its final six championship appearances. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

“I do not assume the climate goes to issue into it an excessive amount of,” he mentioned. “We’re going to should cope with some wind doubtlessly however I do not assume will probably be too chilly for our guys to function and performance and play good soccer.”

Dinwiddie deliberate to spend half of his Saturday evening together with his coaches, then evaluate the Argos’ offensive callsheet. Dinwiddie can also be Toronto’s offensive co-ordinator.

“Nothing totally different from what you do for the opposite 18 video games that you just play through the common season,” Dinwiddie mentioned. “Normally, I seize a beer or two with the coaches, discuss concerning the gameplan and have a pleasant dinner.

“I’m an enormous visualization man so I’ll be visualizing going by the callsheet and type of what to anticipate Sunday, put your ft up and loosen up and get excited for the subsequent day.”

But it is going to have been an early evening for Dinwiddie and the Argos because the membership has an 11 p.m. [local time] curfew. And whereas Toronto had its final follow Saturday, Dinwiddie mentioned the pre-game planning will not cease till the Grey Cup kickoff.

“We all the time say, ‘The hay isn’t within the barn till kickoff,”‘ he mentioned. “I do know the blokes are targeted, we had an ideal walk-through [Saturday], that is the sharpest we have been all week.

“The guys perceive what’s at stake and know they should be at their greatest. I hold telling them they simply should go win a soccer recreation, [then] they hand you the Grey Cup.”


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