Riders don’t need to search hard for motivation leading into Sunday’s playoff game

Rider fans are well aware of what happened the last time the green-and-white was at home for a playoff game.

That 2019 final against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ended in heartbreak as Cody Fajardo’s last-play pass to Kyran Moore in the endzone hit the crossbar giving the Bombers a 20-13 win.

While many players from that team are no longer with the Riders, several are.  With that being the case, head coach Craig Dickenson is hoping those who left the field as a loser after that heartbreaking defeat to Winnipeg can use that motivation when they meet the Calgary Stampeders in the 2021 Western Semi-Final Sunday at Mosaic Stadium in a 3:30 kickoff.

“There’s a lot of guys who aren’t on the team anymore, but there are enough in that locker room who remember how it felt to walk off the field having not registered that victory and I think it resonates with them. “Dickenson said. “I think in the back of our minds, we remember what it felt like and wasn’t a good feeling walking off the field knowing that you’re done.

One player who was on the field was Fajardo.  After having last week off to rest his body, he will be ready to go against the Stampeders Sunday.

He knows a lot of people might be writing his team off because of their offensive struggles and the fact Calgary won five of their last six going into the playoffs, but he says that could end up as motivation for his team.

“Calgary has been hot and have gotten a lot of praise, but we have found a way to win games as well. “Fajardo said. “There are a lot of teams that would give anything to be in our position and host a West semi-final game.”

Another motivator, especially for the defence, might be a perceived sign of disrespect following the announcement of the CFL West all-stars. While Nick Marshall and Micah Johnson were recognized, others like Loucheiz Purifoy, Jonathan Woodard and CFL sacks leader A.C. Leonard were not.   While not being recognized for his efforts during the season, Leonard was recognized for his play in November as he was named one of the performers of the month.

There will be one roster change for sure on Sunday.  Dickenson told reporters Ricardo Louis is out for the season as he is the sixth player this year to see his year end prematurely due to a torn Achilles.  It means Paul McRoberts will get back onto the roster.   Justin McInnis is being bothered by a hamstring injury.  If he can’t go, Mitch Picton’s number will be called.

 

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