EDMONTON — It’s official. The Edmonton Eskimos are in Winnipeg ahead of Sunday’s 103rd Grey Cup.
The Eskimos flew out Tuesday morning and while they’re still coming off a big win over the Stampeders in last Sunday’s CFL West Division final, the players know they still have a big challenge ahead of them.
“When we put our goals down on the sheet it’s not to make it to the Grey Cup, it’s to win the Grey Cup,” said Eskimos QB Mike Reilly.
“We’re far from finished yet. We’ve still got another game and it’s the biggest game of the year and it’s against a very good opponent… We want to win this Sunday. Last Sunday’s win was great, but this is the big one.”
The Eskimos will face the Ottawa Redblacks, a team they haven’t seen since Week Four.
“Those guys, they came a long way, like I said, from last to first,” said defensive lineman Odell Willis. “Hats off to those guys because those guys worked just as hard to get in the same position we’re in and like I said, hopefully Sunday we’ll just give the crowd something they want to watch.”
Watch below: Players arrive in Winnipeg for Sunday’s Grey Cup
The Redblacks also arrived in Winnipeg Tuesday, planning to enjoy the festivities — but not too much — while they prepare for the big game.
“Yeah, we do curfew,” Ottawa Redblacks coach Rick Campbell told reporters shortly after the team’s plane landed.
“I think there’s a balance you can strike of being able to participate and see some things without being in full party mode.”
Players didn’t seem bothered by the idea of a nightly curfew — 11 p.m. in Ottawa’s case.
“I don’t mind because I’m going to be in my bed,” said Redblacks fullback Patrick Lavoie. “We know what we have to do.”
Sunday’s tilt will also be the first time the Redblacks see Reilly in action. Backup Matt Nichols got both previous starts versus the Redblacks as Reilly was sidelined with a knee injury suffered in Edmonton’s season-opening loss to Toronto in Fort McMurray, Alta.
Ottawa comes into the Grey Cup having won five straight but has had trouble this season against Edmonton. The Eskimos swept the season series 2-0, outscoring the Redblacks 69-29 although one victory was by a 46-17 margin and both contests were played in July.
“They were a very different team when we played them early in the season and so are we,” Reilly said.
“It’s not a coincidence that they’re in the Grey Cup. They’ve been playing great football and they deserve to be there. So we’re going to have to put together a great performance in order to get the win.”
With files from The Canadian Press.