Joel Griffiths says he wouldn't have re-signed for Newcastle Jets is he didn't seriously believe the club could challenge for the Championship next season.
Joel Griffiths says he wouldn't have re-signed for Newcastle Jets is he didn't seriously believe the club could challenge for the Hyundai A-League Championship next season.
One of the Jets' favourite sons, Griffiths extended his deal in the Hunter on Monday for a further year until the end of the 2014/15 season.
Having played a key role in the club's strong finish to the 2013/14 campaign - which ended in a seventh-place finish - the 34-year-old is expecting big things next season under new coach Phil Stubbins.
Griffiths, who won an A-League title with the Jets in 2008, is confident another championship is possible before he hangs up the boots.
"Of course it is, I wouldn-t be here if I didn-t think we could," Griffiths told www.footballaustralia.com.au on Monday.
"To be honest I don't think there would be another player at any other club that wouldn't believe they can do it but there will obviously be the favourites and the dark horses.
"We'll be one of the dark horses and we'll be under the radar and that suits us.
"At the end of last season, the last four games or so I felt we were really starting to hit our straps. It was just a shame we didn't quite get there in the end.
"Myself and guys like ‘Carns- [David Carney] only came in quite late and with a full pre-season, if we work hard I think we can keep the momentum going and do quite well."
Griffiths said it was vital to add a "couple more players" to the squad if they are to be contenders and stressed the importance to make a stronger start to the season than they managed this campaign.
He is confident the club has the right mix of experience to go with the impressive young talent at their disposal like Adam Taggart, Josh Brillante, Mark Birighitti and Mitchell Oxborrow.
But he stressed it's up to those older heads to keep developing the youngsters if the side is to keep improving.
"It's great to have those players in there but need to keep them on the right path," Griffiths said.
"That's where the experienced guys come into it. I know from the past sometimes you feel bigger than what you are and it's up to the older guys to keep the players in line.
"I feel I've been doing that already since I've been here and I'm happy to keep helping out with the other boys.
"If those (young) guys think that I'm someone who can help them and be a mentor that's great. We just have to keep gelling as a team and we'll be right."
Much of Griffiths' confidence comes from the appointment of new boss Stubbins, a former assistant at Adelaide United.
While admitting he didn't know much about him before Stubbins' signing, Griffiths is confident the boss is an ideal for the Hunter club.
"It's obviously a big opportunity for him and I think it's perfect for us at this stage to have a coach like him," Griffiths said of Stubbins.
"He's hungry and will feel like he has a bit to prove...a bit like us as a team.
"Being an assistant before it-s probably been good because he has had to maybe bite his lip at times but now he's got full control he can put his own stamp on things.
"I'm feeling really good heading into the new season because I really think the club is heading in the right direction."
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