The Hamilton Tiger-Cats play their first home preseason game tonight when they host the Toronto Argonauts. It doesn’t seem to matter whether these games are played in June, September or November, they’re always entertaining. While this is still the preseason, it’s never a bad thing to get a win under your belt, especially against a rival. These are the three keys, to tonight’s preseason finale, at Tim Hortons Field.
1.Get the Vets in a Rhythm.
Many of the Ticats veteran players didn’t make the trip to Ottawa last weekend so they’ll be getting their first taste of preseason action tonight. Jeremiah Masoli is making his 2019 preseason debut and he’ll look to get the offence into a rhythm heading into next Thursday’s season opener.
A veteran who did make the trip to Ottawa was offensive lineman Ryker Mathews as he looks to make the transition over to left tackle after playing the bulk of his CFL career on the opposite side.
On the defensive side of the ball, veteran returnees like Delvin Breaux, Simoni Lawrence and Ted Laurent will look to ramp things back up in live game action.
2. See what the Rooks can do.
There are a handful of rookies who are looking to make an impact with the Ticats this season. From those who were drafted last month, to the imports who are learning the Canadian game, tonight will be a key evaluation period for Head Coach Orlondo Steinauer and his staff.
The Ticats took offensive lineman Jesse Gibbon with the second overall selection in the 2019 CFL Draft and he has a chance to make a real impact in black and gold this season. Gibbon’s versatility means he’ll likely get the opportunity to provide depth at both tackle and guard positions.
As for their second round pick, the Ticats took fullback Nikola Kalinic 10th overall last month and he has been seeing reps all over the field on offence and special teams in training camp. Tonight he gets another chance to show what he can do in live game action.
One import rookie who has turned heads during camp has been receiver Jaelon Acklin. Acklin opened eyes with his spectacular catches and feisty play last month. He got his first taste of game action last weekend against the Redblacks where he caught eight passes for 73 yards. He’ll look to continue his impressive first few weeks in the CFL tonight against the Argos.
3. Get out Healthy.
It has been a relatively healthy camp for the Ticats. A few players have picked up injuries but nothing catastrophic has happened. It’ll be important for this to continue tonight and for the Ticats to go into the regular season as healthy as possible.
Kickoff tonight is at 7:30. As for the regular season, that kicks off a week today when the Ticats host the Roughriders at Tim Hortons Field. Kick off in that one is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.