Junked Jet Joel wings it to new-look Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix have confirmed the capture of Joel Griffiths after the striker was unceremoniously dumped by Newcastle Jets.

Griffiths has signed with the Kiwi outfit for the rest of the season, with coach Ernie Merrick making it clear what he likes about the former Golden Boot.

“He scores goals,” Merrick said.

“Joel has a great work ethic and has scored goals wherever he has played.

“He is just the type of player we need with the season entering a crucial stage and I am delighted he has agreed to join us.”

In 128 games for the Newcastle Jets Griffiths scored 62 goals as well as finding the net regularly during stints in China and Japan.

Within minutes of arriving in Wellington, Griffiths said he had a good feeling about the future after a messy departure from the Jets.

The 35-year-old was one of five senior players shunted towards the exit until Professional Footballers Australia stepped in.

“A lot of things had to be done to get this over the line and it is a credit to the club, the PFA and the FFA that it has happened,” Griffiths said.

“I am looking forward to this next chapter in my career and I have a really good feeling about it.

“I have been watching the Phoenix this season and it isn’t the team I used to know.

“They are playing really good football, which I appreciate, and they have some X factor players in the team.

“They have two of the most dangerous players in the league up front, have a talented midfield, and at the back have guys who have played together for a long time and are comfortable with each other.”

One of those is captain Andrew Durante who is a long-time friend of the striker who rented his house in Newcastle until he bought a property recently.

“Dura has told me some very good things about what is happening at the Phoenix, about Ernie Merrick and the staff he has around him,” Griffiths said.

“I am very excited about the next three months and I want to contribute to what they are trying to achieve.

“The last nine games in any league are crucial and I will be giving it everything I have.

“It will be hard work and it was tough leaving a young family (wife Bianca, five-year-old daughter Jazelle and two-year-old son Billy) so I want to make it worthwhile.

“I’ve never been one to cut corners and I am here to do a job.

“It isn’t financial because I don’t need the money, but I love football and enjoy a challenge.”

Phoenix are currently sitting fourth on the A-League ladder, just three points adrift of Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United, and five points off league leaders Perth Glory.