It wasn’t exactly the original script Dariuz Bladek had in mind when he began his CFL career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but on Sunday he could come through on his aspiration of winning a Grey Cup in Saskatchewan, as Sunday his Toronto Argonauts will meet the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Mosaic Stadium.
Bladek was the Roughriders second round selection in the 2017 CFL Draft. Following being picked by Saskatchewan, he would go on to play for three seasons with the green and white before signing with the Argonauts.
It’s very exciting for Bladek to be able to play in a Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium.
“It’s full circle for me, it’s something that I wanted to get done here with Sask. but now we’re going to get it done in Sask.”
Following his departure from Saskatchewan in 2020, the right guard says he spent a lot of time working with offensive line trainer Duke Manyweather in Texas, which he said has paid really dividends since arriving in Toronto.
“Working with him and being able to grow my game, really being able to be confident in my sets, you know the older you get, you find how important that is to feel really confident and to get into your spots.”
When he was in Saskatchewan, Bladek said that he tried to be a sponge and observe the veterans of the Roughriders locker room including Brendan LaBatte and Dan Clark.
“No matter how great people spoke of them, they always found something they were getting better at, there’s always another step. I believe in my career every year that I have it was very big to take another step, to go and find that next piece, that extra tool in my box.” Bladek added that the more years he can continue playing, the more tools that he can add to the box.
There have been many adjustments for the 28 year old since moving to the “Big Smoke,” the biggest one according to him has been the wallet.
“It’s not easy on the pocket book, (laughing) we’re going to figure this out in that new CBA. (collective bargaining agreement). ”
On the field, Bladek has played in 27 games with Toronto over the last two seasons.
One of the things that the offensive lineman has enjoyed most about the Argonauts in 2022 has been able to block for both Andrew Harris and A.J. Ouellette. It’s always exciting to block for the running backs according to Bladek.
“It’s a high.” He added “As soon as you get going, you see them, you know there’s going to be a fight, it’s just the initial start.”
On Sunday, Toronto will have the tough task of knocking off the two time defending Grey Cup Champion Bombers, the right guard noted the Winnipeg defenders are a big reason for their recent success.
“Their defence as a whole worked very well together, hence why they have been able to go to back to back to back Grey Cups, hence why they have been able to stay successful.”
In the championship matchup between the double blue and the blue gold, Bladek says the battle of the line of scrimmage is going to go a long way from determining the outcome of the 109th Grey Cup.
“All these big games especially in this type of weather, it’s going to come down who’s can protect and who can get to the quarterback.”