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 The Magazine - 2001 Senior Edition
Editorial Comment 26.09.01

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Features
Editorial comment

Awards & Rankings
All-Norwegians
Awards
Ranking Junior Players
Ranking Junior Teams

In-season
Schedule / Results
Standings

The Teams
(website links)

Bergen Storm
Eidsvoll 1814s
Furuset Panthers
Hamar Ruins
Nordstrand Bandits
Oslo Vikings
Sandnes Oilers
Vålerenga Trolls
Åsane Seahawks

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To the Norwegian football community and those who follow it from the sidelines :

With the 2001 junior season nearing it's completion, it might be time to summarize and draw some conclusions. First of all, lets look at the Junior League as a whole.
Although there has been some (two) postponed games and even a walk-over (1-0 to Eidsvoll over Furuset), the 2001 junior season seems to have gone well. With a total of 9 teams competing and -probable at this time- finishing the season, one could argue that this is the most successful Norwegian junior season ever. The only one better is the one coming next year, right ? ;)

The league setup has worked great, and the conference system has proved it is something that must be considered a standard to stick by in the future as well (don't care much for the division names, though...). Obviously, such a system demands that there exists enough teams to make it work, and that should be our main concern the coming 10 months: We need to keep each and every one of our junior programs going !
Hopefully there is enough interest in each of the competing clubs to keep the 9 current junior teams alive, as well as getting a few new ones participating in 2002. From what I've been able to gather of information, both the Bærum Blue Devils and the Nidaros Domers could join the junior league in 2002. Anyone from Kristiansand ready, willing and able, too ?

On the field, I'd have to say that what we've seen quality-wise this season hasn't been overly impressive. That could have been just me, but unfortunately it's the message I'm hearing from others around the country too. Hopefully the playoffs will prove us all wrong and we'll be able to see some spectacular football, but there is no doubt in my mind there has been better junior teams in past years. However, this has been overshadowed by a more competitive league where many results have been unpredictable and even puzzling, and this is a very, very good thing. Finally, Norway has a league where results aren't decided until the 2nd half has been played !
Of course, that doesn't account for every game, but there has been enough close games this season to change the impression of the Norwegian league as consisting of 80-0 results each and every week.

Let's have a look at the conferences/divisions one by one:

The Big City Division, consisting of the Nordstrand Bandits, Oslo Vikings and Vålerenga Trolls, has been dominated by the Trolls, but the Bandits and Vikings have made it interesting. Both the Trolls and the Vikings were rumoured to being very close to not fielding teams, and the Viking team that travelled to Åsane in the first round with only 8 (!!!) players as well as the postponing of the Trolls' game against Bergen the same weekend did nothing to quiet those rumours. Luckily the rest of the season has proved otherwise, as the Trolls are back in top shape, while the Vikes seem to be on the way up after a rough start. The surprising 14-14 tie between the Oslo Vikings and the Nordstrand Bandits was a turning point for the Vikes, as they've won their games since. The Bandits have made some major strides themselves, and beating the Oilers in Sandnes with only 12 players (against 23) was an unexpected turn of events at the time.

The Sub East Division, with the Eidsvoll 1814s, Furuset Panthers and Hamar Ruins is quite similar to the Big City div.: One team dominates, the other two teams provide the excitement result-wise. The Ruins were one of the favorites before the season started, and have kept that brand ever since, being unbeaten at this time. It must be said that they've got a tough matchup against the Trolls still to come, and their narrow victory (14-8) @ home against the Bergen Storm shows that there won't be an easy path to the championship title this season. The Eidsvoll 1814s have two games in the "W"-column, although one is a Walk-Over and the other over rookies Åsane Seahawks in Eidsvoll. Narrow losses to the Furuset Panthers and the Oslo Vikings proves the 1814s has a junior program on its feet that hopefully will keep going. It's great to see such a fine program as Eidsvoll get started on the junior side of things too !
The Furuset Panthers managed to lose a game on Walk-Over, but got their revenge a week later when they for their first time ever won a junior league game. Another young team, the Panthers should definitely make progress in the years to come.

The Wild West Division is, like the others, dominated by one team. Last year's Norwegian champ'ship runner-up Bergen Storm has full control atop of the division, whilst division foes the Sandnes Oilers and the Åsane Seahawks fight for the #2 spot and a shot at the playoffs. The Oilers have probably been the most disappointing team results-wise in the league this year, and for the first time in the history of their junior team (which has been playing since 1995) they face the possibility of missing out on the playoffs. Rookies Åsane Seahawks started off with a victory, and has not won since, although they've been racking up plenty of points and experience along the way. If they start playing like their organization looks from the outside (including the best team website in Norwegian football, despite the lack of links) they'll soon be a force to be reckoned with.

The playoffs are approaching, and expect to see some very interesting matchups. Although the top three teams - Bergen, Hamar and Vålerenga - all will have met eachother in league play, results could very well change with the trophy being only a game away. At the time I'm writing this, the most likely candidate for the 4th playoff spot is the Nordstrand Bandits, which only needs to win their final game against the Oslo Vikings to secure the spot. However, a Bandits loss could open the door for either the Sandnes Oilers or the Oslo Vikings themselves. To make the playoffs, the Oilers depend on winning their two remaining games and that the Vikes beat Nordstrand. If the Oilers end up 2-4 (or 1-5...), the Oslo Vikings could take the spot by beating the Nordstrand Bandits even if they lose against the Trolls on September 29th. A win against the Trolls and against the Bandits would surely hand the final playoff spot to the Vikings. Theoretically, even the Eidsvoll 1814s or the Furuset Panthers OR the Åsane Seahawks could make the playoffs, but those chances are too slim to be considered even remotely realistic.
You'll have to have us excused if it happens...
In summary: One of the playoff spots will more than likely come down to the last weekend and the game between the Nordstrand Bandits and the Oslo Vikings !
For a league that has been plagued by results like 56-0, 60-12 and even 129-0, this is a major step forward. Now all we can ask for is a championship game as exciting as the one last year, when the Trolls snatched the victory in front of the Bergen Storm, 29-28...

Together in football,

Wheeeeee, look at meeeee !
Jarle Magnus Henriksen
TNFJ.com

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