Toronto Argonauts: Staying composed will be crucial in East final vs. Tiger-Cats

Sean Thomas Erlington #31 of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats drives for yards as Henoc Muamba #10 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images)
Sean Thomas Erlington #31 of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats drives for yards as Henoc Muamba #10 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images) /

With a hostile crowd expected to gather at BMO Field, the Toronto Argonauts look to keep their season going as they host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Throughout the season, the Toronto Argonauts had to deal with many ups and downs and this week was no different.

The team learned a valuable lesson when they allowed the intensity and emotion of the Labour Day Classic to provide the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with a way to throw the Argos off their game. It’s no coincidence that Toronto would go on to win the next three games especially one that had massive implications with first place on the line.

Getting the bye into the East final was seen as a major victory for the Argos as many of the players were happy to get the chance to rest and aren’t worried about any rust. They believe that with the veteran presence they have on both sides of the ball, they can get things going rather quickly.

One addition that could prove to be a major boost on the offensive side of the ball is having Eric Rogers return from a hamstring injury. Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie believes that his impact with his size physicality adds another dimension to this offence especially with his blocking ability.

For Rogers, he is just glad to have the chance to play after having to miss the post-season in 2019 with the Calgary Stampeders because of an injury.

“I’d rather have this type of season than I did in 2019, when I played the whole season and I got hurt late and missed the chance to play in the playoffs,” Rogers said in his pre-game press conference. “I’d rather be available for the playoffs, feeling good and helping my team.”

Of course, in a game like this, the play of the defence will likely be the deciding factor. Both teams boast talented defences and the one that can force the offence to make mistakes especially turnovers will likely come away victorious.

“A lot of the times when you get in games like this, there’s a lot of distractions, there’s a lot of different things that come up. The last thought is going to be about ‘what’s your assignment?'” Henoc Muamba explained. “Do that to the best of your ability, lean on your teammates, trust one another. And if we do tha we have what it takes in that locker room. And so the only way I see in my eyes, if we don’t get out of this game, you know, victorious is because we shot ourselves in the foot. And that’s going to happen if we allow the little things to distract us.”

Thoughts on the McLeod Bethel-Thompson situation and the fallout

As the team prepared for their last full practice before hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in CFL’s East final, they found themselves in a tough situation. McLeod Bethel-Thompson was told that he had to quarantine at home because he violated the league’s COVID protocol for going to the Toronto Raptors game.

The only reason he was at the game was to help promote the game by doing an interview on TSN and appear on the jumbotron. Well safe to say, one fatal flaw put the CFL and the Argos on the roadmap for national media coverage across Canada for the wrong reason.

Initially, the discussion was around the fact that Bethel-Thompson’s availability was in jeopardy because he would have to quarantine for four days under the new league’s protocols. The CFL would later rule that all the Argos quarterback needed to do was quarantine for two days while providing a negative PCR test on Friday and Saturday (which he has done) and an antigen test.

While there is outrage over the CFL making changes to the protocol in place, they went through the proper channels to get the green light from the medical experts in charge of the protocols in place. The main goal of the protocols was to ensure the safety of the players playing and in this case, also, if Bethel-Thompson was not going to be eligible to play, you can bet the CFLPA would have stepped in given the circumstances.

Should this have happened? No, there should have been more careful planning to avoid a situation like this and now the focus shifts to the game.