Special Day For Griffiths

Brent Griffiths’ starting debut for the Wellington Phoenix tomorrow against Central Coast Mariners at Westpac Stadium will be all the more special as his brother Royston will be in the Mariners line up.

Brent Griffiths- starting debut for the Wellington Phoenix tomorrow against Central Coast Mariners at Westpac Stadium will be all the more special as his brother Royston will be in the Mariners line up.

“Football never ceases to amaze me with the situations it throws up,” Griffiths said after a training session yesterday.

“I never got to play with him (Royston) when we were at Perth together for a variety of reasons, and then came up against him when the Phoenix played the Mariners in a pre-season game.

“I was on trial then and only got about 15 minutes, but this is the real thing and hopefully I can finish on the winning side against him.”

It is ironic that the 21-year-old gets his first Phoenix start thanks to central defender Ben Sigmund being suspended after receiving a red card in last Sunday-s unlucky 1-2 loss to Melbourne Victory.

Griffiths holds an unwanted Hyundai A-League record after being shown two red and three yellow cards in the five games he played for Perth Glory last season.

“That doesn-t sound too good does it?” Griffiths said with a smile.

“”It is something I have to put out of my mind but there wasn-t a very happy environment at Perth during that period, and that may have had something to do with it.

“Things are so different here where everyone is close, but I won-t be making any rash tackles tomorrow, and definitely won-t be talking back to the referee!.

“This is a big important game for the club and a big chance for me because at Perth it took two seasons before I got an opportunity in the first team.

“I feel bad for Ben but pleased to get my opportunity and it is good that Ricki trusts me.”

With Paul Ifill, Vince Lia, Mirjan Pavlovic, Jimmy Downey and Lucas Pantelis all out injured, along with Sigmund-s suspension, coach Ricki Herbert has only 15 players available.

“It isn-t easy with such small numbers to work with,” Herbert said.

“Despite that we have played really well in our last two games and created a number of good scoring opportunities without turning them into goals.

“It is crucial tomorrow that we make the most of anything we create because the work rate and commitment of the players so far this season has been fantastic.”

Phoenix: Tony Warner, Manny Muscat, Brent Griffiths, Andrew Durante (captain), Tony Lochhead, Leo Bertos, Tim Brown, Daniel, Alex Smith, Dani Sanchez and Chris Greenacre. Substitutes: Mark Paston, Nicky Ward, Cameron Lindsay, Niko Tsattalios.