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HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will host the Toronto Argonauts as the pair of East Division rivals square off in the first game of a Monday doubleheader to close out OK Tire Labour Day Weekend in the CFL.

Monday’s meeting will culminate the four game season series between the two provincial opponents, with Toronto currently holding a two game advantage over the Ticats.

The game will also mark the 52nd Labour Day meeting between Toronto and Hamilton, and the Tiger-Cats have been dominant when playing over the September long-weekend. Hamilton has claimed victory a total of 36 times and have not conceded a Labour Day loss to Toronto since the Boatmen’s 33-30 win in 2012.

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Hamilton rookie quarterback Jamie Newman is set to make his first career start following injuries to Dane Evans and Matthew Shiltz. Shiltz will be sidelined after suffering a wrist injury in Week 12, while Evans was a participant in practice this week, but was limited due to a shoulder injury. Evans will serve as the third quarterback behind Newman and Jalon Morton

Newman has seen limited action through the first 12 weeks of play, seeing snaps mostly as the team’s short-yardage quarterback. Appearing in eight games for the Tabbies this season, Newman carried the ball 10 times for a total of 58 yards and has scored three touchdowns. He has also attempted two passes this season, completing both for four yards.

Boasting an athletic group of pass-catchers, the Ticats have been effective at putting their receivers in positions to make plays as of late. Tim WhitePapi White and Steven Dunbar Jr. each caught at least 80 yards in Week 12, while Lemar Durant caught the lone touchdown pass.

The explosivity and game-breaking ability of the Hamilton receivers should provide some comfort for their rookie quarterback in their Labour Day meeting with the aggressive Toronto defence.  

Defensively, the Tiger-Cats surrender the fewest rushing yards per game across the league, allowing an average of 76.8 yards to opposing offences. They’ve also proven to be very effective at pressuring opposing quarterbacks, recording 25 sacks on the year, the fourth most league-wide.

Ticats head coach Orlondo Steinauer reiterated to team media that he is continuing to take it one game at a time, despite the excitement of the Labour Day rivalry lingering overtop of Hamilton.

Its always about the next game on the schedule,” Steinauer told Ticats.caIt cant be anything more than that because then your not focused. The goal week in and week out is to focus and go in and finish. Weve seen them quite often, we knew this was on the schedule and you go out and play the game.

Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson completed 19 passes as he threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Hamilton a week ago.

Receivers Markeith Ambles, DaVaris Daniels and Kurleigh Gittens Jr. combined for 12 of Bethel-Thompson’s 19 completions and each caught touchdown passes helping their team take a 37-20 win. The Argos passing attack has averaged 258.3 yards against Hamilton this season.

The Toronto defence didn’t the give Ticats quarterbacks any room to maneuver in the pocket in their previous meeting. Defensive lineman Shane Ray had two sacks, while fellow defensive lineman Brandon Barlow and defensive back Maurice Carnell brough the team’s sack total to four.

The pressure didn’t just result in sacks for the Boatmen defence, the aggressive pressure ill-advised decision making and errant passing attempts that Toronto’s secondary was able to capitalize on. Defensive back Jamal Peters picked off three of Dane Evans pass attempts, one of which Peters returned 67 yards for a touchdown.

Ahead of the Labour Day Classic, Ray expects Monday’s season finale to be the toughest meeting yet between the two rivals. 

When you play a team four times, we know these guys like the back of our hand, like Im sure they know us,” Ray told “Its very exciting to get this rivalry game, its a big game for both sides. We look forward to the competition.

“Hamiltons fans go crazy so we expect a hostile environment. We just have to do what we do, come out and play good football. When youre beating a team, the crowd is out of it. When your losing to a team and they have the momentum the crowd is insane. We just have to do a good job of playing our game.

In a team media session, Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie echoed the sentiments of Ray, highlighting importance of staying within their game plan on Monday.

We know each other well,” Dinwiddie told Argonauts.caIts really just about going out and executing. I told the guys dont be comfortable. We had a better performance last week but we cant get comfortable. It wont be easy, were walking into a hornets nest. We dont have to play perfect but we have to play a good game.

Toronto can put six points between themselves and Hamilton in the East Division standings with a win on Monday afternoon. On the other hand, the Ticats can pull within two points of Toronto in the standings with a victory.

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