The perfect storm of a lack of European opportunities and rampant growth within the A-League proved to be the driving factor for Perth Glory captain Rostyn Griffiths to head home for the 2016/17 season.
After announcing to the press that his intentions were to stay in Europe after his recent stint in the Netherlands, Griffiths shocked many when he appeared on Glory’s pre-season tour to the Phillipines before subsequently signing a two-year deal with the club.
“I wanted to stay overseas but it had to be worth my while,” Griffiths admitted.
“I was 28, I wasn’t prepared to go to a low-level club in Europe, it wasn’t worth it for me on a financial sense or a footballing sense.”
“When I saw what Glory were putting together, and the boys they were bringing into the squad, (including) mates that I’d grown up with, it was a no-brainer.”
The robust midfielder also believed that he had joined the league at the right time with competition heating up around the competition with a lot of squads investing heavily in new talent during the off-season.
“I like the ambition of the club - I want to win stuff! - I want to be in a team that’s challenging for things, and for me the A-League was an exciting prospect,” Griffiths said.
“You have people like Timmy Cahill coming back to the league and it’s things like that which spur it on.
“I just felt like I’d rather be back in Australia, rather than fighting to be at a club that I’m not happy at.”
Upon heading home, Griffiths was happy to simply be a part of what he hoped would be a Championship team out west, but surely enough another opportunity came knocking - the coveted captain’s armband.
Richard Garcia, Michael Thwaite, Jacob Burns, Jamie Harnwell and Simon Colosimo are amongst those in the A-League era who’ve led the Glory on the field, but the midfielder admitted that captaincy was never in contract talks when he was approached to join the club.
“I wish I had been smart enough to put it in my contract but I wasn’t,” he joked.
“I knew Kenny, and we had a good relationship and it wasn’t until about two or three weeks afterward that he told me.
“I have a good relationship with the coaches and a good relationship with the boys but it could have been anyone in the team really, we’ve got a team full of leaders, the hardest part for me is keeping them under control.”
The team that Griffiths departed to join the new look Glory outfit was Dutch outfit Roda JC Kerkrade, where alongside Tomi Juric and Daniel De Silva, he was dubbed one of the ‘Roda Roos’.
There’s only one of the trio who still remains there, former Glory starlet De Silva, who Griffiths believes is set to shine, but fans may be waiting a little while longer yet for him to burst onto the scene.
“I think with Danny De Silva it doesn’t have to be this season,” Griffiths said.
“I think if he can do better than he did last season and keep doing that every season, that’s what he has to do.
That doesn’t mean that Griffiths doesn’t see a star in the making though.
“I can already see he is starting games so that is important, but they’re a team that’s going to struggle to stay in the league, so it’s probably not Danny’s bread and butter in terms of style of football,” he said.
“He’s just gotta get some first-team and European football and it’s just a matter of time really, he’s got the quality to go onto bigger and better things but it’s just about waiting it out, rather than a big season for him.”