Mika Eloranta

Diamond Bowl: A lot to scout

As head coach of Finnish women’s national team, Mika Eloranta has special view for the Diamond Bowl. It gives him a good opportunity to scout Finnish players as well as possible opponent’s players from Great Britain and Russia. Here are his predictions of the tournament and the teams that are participating.

– Diamond Bowl arranged by Helsinki Roosters is an interesting concept from the point of view of Women’s Maple League. Except for the reigning champion, all the other participating teams take part and the beginning of the season is knocking on the door. Especially for the Saints the tournament is good possibility to be able to measure the level of play in the league. Valkyries surely willingly takes a possibility to initiate a new quarterback in. And as Roosters has likewise renewed from last season, they probably need to accustom new players to league speeds also. Although the Lions is not the same as the British national team, I gladly scout if they have new talent in their team.

– As for Roosters it’s interesting to see how running back Mari Jääskelä fills the gap left by Jenni Lindén. In the basis of different news, many seasoned players have had some injuries to heal during off season. So new players have excellent opportunity to show their capabilities. Janina Virtanen’s return to the field will surely fill a need for Roosters.

– Valkyries have surely practiced hard through winter, as their season 2017 ended with narrow lost in playoff and falling out of the final. Valkyries has been a better team than during the previous year every season, however now they will start the season with new quarterback in helm and it cannot be without having an effect.

– As a new kid in the league, the Saints has a big challenge ahead. The difference of the level of play between the league and division one has been quite clear so far. On the other hand they have very experienced coaching staff and they have coaches to every position. This with big roster differ the Saints from previous rising teams. And also from the earlier Saints team that played on the highest level of women’s series. There are also several players that have experience from Finnish national team and league level before, but in lines they probably are a little behind Roosters.

– The biggest guns of Birmingham Lions are absolutely running back Ruth Matta and quarterback Jo Kilby, who are familiar faces from British national team. It’s interesting to see how the British team adapts to 11 vs. 11, as they are playing first time this game form at club level. I believe that mostly this will be seen in lines, how the blocks hit right and are the responsibilities clear.

– All teams play many games with short recovery time during the weekend and naturally all aim seriously to win. The big issue is how the teams bear the stress and the bruises. For Finnish teams I, of course, hope that there will not be any injuries this near of the beginning of the season.