Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea knows the cold ones are being saved in Pil Country.
“I’m sure their players weren’t sitting on the couch drinking beer, they were working,” O’Shea said about the Riders bye week prior to the Western Final.
In the first season of a new regime with Craig Dickenson as head coach and Jeremy O’Day as general manager, the Riders will play the West Final at Mosaic Stadium. The last time the Riders took the West Division regular season title and hosted the West Final was 2009. Saskatchewan lost to Montreal in the Grey Cup – famously by the 13th man – at McMahon Stadium.
The Bombers provide the opposition on Sunday. It’s the fourth meeting of the calendar year that counts, the Riders claimed the season series two games to one. Winnipeg had a week of rest prior to the Western Semi-Final just as Saskatchewan was fortunate enough to earn prior to the match up for the right to play in the CFL championship.
“They’ve had a break now. They’ve had a lot of time and I’m sure their coaching staff have been putting in all that extra time to make sure they’re prepared. They’ll have a plan for us ready,” O’Shea said.
“They’ll be fresh, they’re a good football team, they finished first for a reason. That week of rest is going to be very good for their quarterback situation. I imagine Cody will be ready to go and fired up.”
It will be the first time the Bombers and Riders meet in the West Final since 1972. Saskatchewan prevailed nearly 40 years ago 27-24 in the Manitoba Capital, but fell in the Grey Cup 13-10 to Hamilton. The latest installment of the prairie rivalry should be one for the ages.