Finland ready to Break the Ice at Euro Champs
Monday, July 19 2010 @ 06:54 am ACST
Contributed by: Aaron Richard
The Finland Icebreakers are bringing a lot of new faces to the inaugural European Championships, with only five players still in the squad from their 2008 IC campaign. Despite having a number of rookies, the Icebreakers are confident they can hold their own against Europe's best.
This weekend saw Finland take on the Norway Trolls in Helsinki, and although the Icebreakers were defeated 36-34, they were not by any means disgraced, with the Norwegian team featuring a large Australian contingent.
Coach Grant Siermans says the Finns are good across the ground, but are strongest in the midfield. "Ville Koivunen, Jani Saarinen and EU Cup all-star Mika Kupila will get plenty of the football and are also very physical. Their job is made easier by our very mobile ruckman Ville Suominen. The defence will be held up by Jukka Reiman and Juha-Antti Koskinen and the main target up forward will be Juuso Timosaari."
"Selection was initially undertaken through invitations which was then going to lead to trails combined with form, but unfortunately it turned into who was available, who could afford it and if they could get the time off work. The team will be arriving for the first game with either eighteen or nineteen players, and more might join the squad during the week."
Five members of the team played in the IC in Australia two years ago, and many have also played in EU Cups. However, most of the squad have only one game's experience on a full ground, which may test them against the British and Danish teams. All four domestic clubs are featured in the squad, including the new Vaasa Wombats side who are currently in development. The team is very close to all-Finnish, with the only third-country representatives being Irishman Keith Byrne and Colombian Fernando Leon, both of whom are veterans of Finnish Aussie Rules.
|Fernando Leon Sanchez  ||Helsinki Heatseekers|
|Jani Saarinen||Salo Juggernauts|
|Janne Hokkanen||Turku Dockers|
|Janne Mustonen||Turku Dockers|
|Juha Leino||Turku Dockers|
|Juha-Antti Koskinen||Turku Dockers|
|Juho Parviainen||Turku Dockers|
|Jukka Reiman||Salo Juggernauts|
|Jukka Toivonen||Salo Juggernauts|
|Juuso Timosaari||Turku Dockers|
|Keith Byrne||Helsinki Heatseekers|
|Lasse Kalevi||Turku Dockers|
|Lasse Puntilla||Helsinki Heatseekers|
|Lauri Syvänen||Turku Dockers|
|Mika Kupila||Vaasa Wombats|
|Simo Saarinen||Salo Juggernauts|
|Tero Salomäki||Turku Dockers|
|Tomi Virtanen||Turku Dockers|
|Tuomas Venho||Helsinki Heatseekers|
|Ville Koivunen||Salo Jugganauts|
|Ville Saarinen||Turku Dockers|
|Ville Suominen||Turku Dockers|
|Anti Vasemägi||Turku Dockers|
|Riku Kanerva||Turku Dockers|
|Kimmo Heikkilä||Helsinki Heatseekers|