They say a week is a long time in football, so imagine what three months must feel like.
At the end of March 2016 Perth-raised Rostyn Griffiths made it known that he would be leaving Eredivisie outfit Roda JC.
At the time Griffiths knocked on the head any thoughts on returning to the A-League and Perth Glory who had always told him that he was welcome back at the club where he spent two years and who he left to move to the Netherlands.
In relation to returning to the A-League he told SBS’s The World Game, “I have no intention to go back there right now. It’s obviously a league I would hope to return to at some point, but at this stage I am at my peak footballing age and I would probably like to stay away a little bit longer. The overall goal is to remain in Europe, but right now the only countries that really are of big interest to me are Germany and England and that makes it a little bit more limited.”
Griffiths admitted that he had been approached by clubs in Asia, but having left the Central Coast Mariners to move to China, he was not so keen to chase the dollars, it was far more about the quality of the football at this point in his career.
Griffiths was savvy enough to know that a move back to Asia would kill any hopes he had of playing in Europe again, as once he moved back East few clubs would look to take him back to Europe.
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe took an out of contract Griffiths on the club’s pre season tour to the Phillipines, and having time with the player on and off the pitch, has obviously done a great job convincing the 28 year old that a return to the A-League is a good move.
This is a very good signing for Perth Glory. Griffiths is undoubtedly a quality player, who has shown he can play in Europe, and he will be a huge addition to the Glory squad. He has never had any major injury issues and have never received any bad press. He has always been a model professional, and along with Mark Milligan when he was playing in the A-League has always been a stand out Australian player who you felt had the talent to cut it overseas.
At 28 years of age Griffiths should still have plenty of football left in him, and as sad as it is that he has not managed to gain a club in Europe at a time as he said he is at his peak footballing age, it is great news for Perth Glory and has the fans very excited.
Perth Glory have this season really focussed on bringing back home grown talent from overseas. Joining Griffiths will be Rhys Williams and Chris Herd, making it 15 Western Australian players in the Perth Glory squad for the coming season, as Kenny Lowe reconnects with many of the young players he helped develop. Perth Glory is likely this season to have more ‘home-grown’ players than any other A-League club.
The only disappointing aspect, and one that the club would have been wise to acknowledge if it wants to woo back fans from the local league, is how many of these players came through ECU Joondalup’s youth development programs. No doubt the A-League club is hoping that the mere signing of these players will see their former team mates and friends head back to NIB Stadium, which probably will happen, but it would have been nice to see the club tip its hat to the coaches and the club that nurtured these talented players to a level where they obtained contracts in top flight leagues in Europe. The failure to do this almost feels like the Glory is trying to imply that they were players that they helped produce. There is of course still time to fix this.