TOP GUNS: Lambton’s ex-Jets Ryan Griffiths, Jobe Wheelhouse and Joel Griffiths. Picture: Sproule Sports FocusThe Northern NSW NPL decider against Edgeworth on Saturday will be Ryan Griffiths’ first grand final since his junior days at the Menai Hawks.
And the former Socceroofeels it could very well be his lastmatch.
At 36, Griffiths is weighing up whether to play on next year after featuring in the second half of Lambton Jaffas’ season, following a short stint at Western Sydney Wanderers.
“Hopefully we can win this grand final and I can finish playing,” Griffiths said.
“I enjoy the football side of it, but throughout your career you put so much pressure on yourself to perform and eventhough I’m playing at a lower level, I still put it on myself and I still bring it home and I don’t want to do that anymore.
“I guess it’s instilled in my nature playing the last 17 years as a pro. I think it would be nice to not have that feeling throughout the week if I play bad or if we lose.I want to give that whole competitive side of myself a rest.”
Griffiths has scored six goals in 11 games for Jaffas and proven a threat up front with older brother and fellow former Socceroo, Joel, who has 10 in 21.Despite helping Jaffas reach the decider, includinga goal in thefirst-leg semi-final win over Hamilton, Ryan was disappointed with his contribution.
“I haven’t been happy with my form at all,” he said. “I’ve been ordinary. I’ve scored a fair few goals but I haven’t hit my straps.
“I think after coming from Western Sydney, I just wanted to have a break because it was so intense down there and the schedule was crazy, flying over to Asia every second week.I just wanted to have a break.
“I went straight into it and wasn’t even really keen to play at all, but having Joel, Jobe [Wheelhouse], Jimmy Pascoe and Chris Sneddon running the club, it was easy for me to say I’ll come and have a kick.”
Despite his desire to have a rest, Griffiths has enjoyed the NPL competition and been “pleasantly surprised” by the standard.
“I have really enjoyedbeing back in Newcastle, and having this semi-professional league here with so many good players in it has been great,” Griffiths said.
“Every game we’ve played has beencompetitive. Ithasn’t been easy, which is what you want.”
Griffiths’ potential last game will be his first final on McDonald Jones Stadium since he and twin brothers Adam and Joel were at Newcastle United in the early 2000s. It will also be his first grand final since juniors.
“Obviously there’s no grand finals in Asia and Europe,” he said. “I haven’t played in a grand final in a long time because over thereit’s first past the post. Joel and I were first past the post with Beijing Guoan, which was fantastic.That was a really good experience and it would be really nice to get another win on Saturday.”
Griffiths did not shut the door on playing again next year but was keen to focus on his web design company folkdigital苏州美甲学校苏州美甲学校论坛 and help with his wife’s interior design business over the summer.