EFL Over For 2012
Almost as quickly as it had begun, our journey in Europe’s premier competition has come to an abrupt end. Slim hopes of a miraculous recovery from a deficit of over 40 points were quickly dashed on Saturday as we struggled to stop the Broncos from scoring, seemingly at will. Although we tightened up in the second half, the damage that had been done was irreparable. For the second half, with hopes of victory gone, we took the opportunity to cut loose and test ourselves against a tough opponent.
Stats from the game can be seen here: http://www.sajl.org/vaahteraliiga/2012/xlive.htm
To look at the 36-52 scoreline, one might think us a lost cause. But within the team, there is in fact a renewed sense of optimism that has spawned from the trials that we have endured this week. Last weekend there were some significant changes to the coaching structure that gave us a new Head Coach in Janne Seppa and left us without a named Defensive Coordinator. Far from using this as an excuse, the consensus amongst the majority of players is that we actually performed better this weekend under our new staff. Furthermore, there is a collective confidence that was definitely not there after the first leg. Our new Head Coach is doing a great job under tough circumstances and the players are becoming a tighter knit group as we all get behind him to help out in any way he sees fit.
Now the challenge is to put the disappointment of our short-lived EFL campaign behind us and return to pre-season mode in preparation for our defence of the Maple League. Our opening game is at home on the 27th of May against the Jaguars, who always provide us with a tough contest. I am relishing the opportunity to get back to Maple League competition. I am not relishing a return to the sandpaper surface of the Velodrome. I have donated enough skin to that field to supply the SAJL with Bamskin footballs for the next few seasons. Save the pigs!
Unfortunately I won’t be with the team again until the eve of the Jaguars game as I have family commitments. Mr and Mrs Hennessy are celebrating a landmark birthday together and are taking our ever-expanding family (We’ve nearly doubled our number in a few short years) on holiday. It is going to be frustrating to be away from the team at such a crucial time, but I can’t exactly complain under the circumstances. My brother in law has agreed to keep on top of pre-season training with me while we’re away. At 6 feet and 7 inches tall, I’m still trying to recruit him for the team.
One final mention must go to the Wolverines organisation for putting on a fantastic event against Calanda. From the fireworks to the filming, the day was a fantastic exhibition for Finnish football. it was yet another thing that made me proud to be a Wolverine.
All photos are courtesy of Riku Flink at http://www.touchdown.fi