From being pelted with bottles to smashed windows on team the team bus, Wanderers' new striker Ryan Griffiths has experienced it all when it comes to local derbies abroad.
Now back in the Hyundai A-League, the 35-year-old former Caltex Socceroo is now excited to experience Sydney’s version in Saturday night’s blockbuster against the Sky Blues at ANZ Stadium.
Ahead of the battle with Sydney FC, Griffiths recalled his previous derby experiences during stints playing in Romania and China.
“I’ve played in the Bucharest derbies and they are very intense.
“If you lose that you get bottles thrown at you and if you win that you get even more bottles thrown at you from the other team so it’s impossible,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“I also experienced the derby in China as well when we had to stay in the stadium for four hours after fulltime. I think we left the stadium at 3am.
“And even when we left the stadium, the bus got pellets thrown and smashed windows, some of the boys got cut and blood all over them.
"So I’ve been involved in some pretty fierce rivalries.”
While there won’t be those sorts of incidents on Saturday night, Griffiths knows the passion will be at another level with more than 50,000 fans expected at Homebush.
“It’s a spectacle. It’s fantastic for Australian sport and for football and shows how far the A-League has come to get over 50,000 for a Sydney derby,” he said.
“It’s fantastic and something when I was a youngster I couldn’t comprehend that that would happen [in the future]. I’m excited to be a part of that.
“It’s a massive game. Wanderers fans are saying to me it doesn’t matter if you lose against Central Coast as long as you win the derby,” Griffiths added.
“There’s a lot of pride on the line…hopefully we can make Sydney Red and Black.”
Griffiths said ending Sydney FC’s unbeaten run this season wouldn’t act as extra motivation for the Wanderers.
Currently sitting in seventh spot on the ladder, they have other reasons to pick up three points, not least of which is the fact they have gone more than three years without toppling the Sky Blues.
But they’ll have to overcome an awful home record this season to do that, without a win in eight games in the Homebush precinct [ANZ Stadium and Spotless Stadium].
“I’m not superstitious in that way but sometimes it gets in the mind that you can’t win at a place,” Griffiths admitted.
“You have to overcome the obstacles and mind games where everyone says ‘you can’t win at Homebush’. Hopefully we can overcome that and put in a really good performance on Saturday.”