Windsor Star

Tecumseh’s Josh Bourke hopes for return trip to Grey Cup final.

St. Anne grad anchors Als’ line

- JIM PARKER

MONTREAL VS. TORONTO

Tecumseh native Josh Bourke has establishe­d himself as a rock at left tackle for the Montreal Alouettes.

The six-foot-seven, 315-pound Bourke earned a third straight selection to the Eastern all-star team this season for the Alouettes, who host the Toronto Argos Sunday in the Eastern final.

“My goal every year is to take a run at the Grey Cup,” the 26year-old Bourke said.

“Personal achievemen­t is great as well, but my emphasis is on the team.”

Bourke knows offensive linemen rarely get attention and it’s not something he worries about.

“The only time you get noticed is when you get a penalty or give up a sack,” Bourke said.

“When you’re not noticed, you’re doing your job and that sort of fits my personalit­y. I’m a lowkey guy and I don’t mind it at all.”

The defending champion Alouettes also feature Windsor’s J.P. Bekasiak at defensive tackle as well as linebacker Walter Spencer, who is sidelined after being stabbed in a Montreal bar Sept. 6.

Montreal is aiming for a third straight trip to the Grey Cup, but Bourke said this year has been somewhat of a struggle.

“This year, we’ve been a little more up and down,” said Bourke, whose team was 12-6 this year compared to 15-3 a year ago.

“It’s still a great record, but last year we were more consistent.”

Bourke credits that to Montreal being consistent­ly at the top of the standings the past few years.

“Teams get up to play for us,” said Bourke, who attended Grand Valley State University.

“You might see Hamilton and Winnipeg play where they don’t get up, but they get up when they come to play us.”

Finishing first in the East Division, Bourke thoroughly enjoyed the club’s bye week, which included five days away from practice.

“It’s huge,” he said. “Basically, you’re getting away from the game.”

Bourke enjoyed watching Toronto and Hamilton battle each other from his sofa while he rested his bumps and bruises.

“A lot of people argue whether there’s been benefits to have that time off and that they’re might be rust, but we’re a veteran team,” Bourke said.

After four months of battling through the regular season, Bourke’s squad is right where it wants to be and he expects the Alouettes to be ready Sunday.

“The excitement is starting to build,” Bourke said of the game, which will be played at Olympic Stadium. “We’re expecting 55,000 (fans) and it’ll be crazy. We’ve got 60 minutes to get to another Grey Cup.”

 ?? SHAUN BEST/Reuters ?? Tecumseh’s Josh Bourke has establishe­d himself as a top
lineman in the CFL.
SHAUN BEST/Reuters Tecumseh’s Josh Bourke has establishe­d himself as a top lineman in the CFL.
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