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Close games, exciting finishes drawing large crowds to IGF during first half of season

Montreal Alouettes slotback Nik Lewis (8) hurdles Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Kyle Knox (50) and defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman (55) before being tackled by defensive tackle Drake Nevis (92) during the first half of CFL football action in Winnipeg on Thursday, July 27, 2017.
Montreal Alouettes slotback Nik Lewis (8) hurdles Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Kyle Knox (50) and defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman (55) before being tackled by defensive tackle Drake Nevis (92) during the first half of CFL football action in Winnipeg on Thursday, July 27, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan

It’s a good time to be a Winnipeg Blue Bomber fan.

Sitting at 7-2 on the season and riding a five-game winning streak, the Blue and Gold are just one game back of first place in the Western Conference.

It’s the kind of success that has both the league and fans taking notice.

With three Winnipeg players earning the CFL’s top performers of the month, the city is showing support like never before.

“It’s good that we’re sort of paying them back for all the support over the last few years,” Head Coach Mike O’Shea said.

Out of the first four games at home this season, two have featured more than 30,000 fans in attendance.

“It’s not just the noise level, it’s definitely a factor and an advantage that we have at home,” Defensive Lineman Jamaal Westerman said.

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The stadium is expected to only get louder entering the second half of the season.

The annual Banjo Bowl at Investors Group Field has already sold out — the earliest sellout since the Bombers moved to their new location in 2013.

Westerman said close games and exciting finishes are driving more fans to the field and that players are feeding off the energy.

“There’s more excitement. There’s more things to cheer for, there’s more things to have enthusiasm over.”

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But before returning to I.G.F for the Banjo Bowl, the Bombers will head to another stadium with some of the CFL’s loudest fans: Winnipeg will play Saskatchewan Sunday in the annual Labour Day Classic.

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