Griffiths wary of in-form Heart


Joel Griffiths says Saturday’s clash with Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium looms as the Jets’ toughest challenge of the season.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets attacker Joel Griffiths believes this Saturday-s clash with the Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium looms as the Club-s toughest challenge so far this season.

The Jets sit just two points behind sixth placed Sydney FC but face a Heart outfit that have won five straight matches and haven-t tasted defeat in eight games.

“I think Melbourne Heart are definitely the favourites for this week, their form over the last six games has been outstanding and even the way they play, they-re the best team I like to watch,” Griffiths said.

“They-ve got a lot of good players, especially when one of our greatest players of all time in Harry Kewell can-t even get a sniff, it shows David Williams and Mate Dudgandzic are definitely a handful.

“I think any one of the attacking third for Melbourne Heart are definitely going to cause us problems -this is probably the toughest game for the Jets this year by a long shot.

“Hopefully we can go in with the right attitude and stick to the gaffer-s game plan and I-m sure with the players that we have on the park we can do the job, especially at home.”

Griffiths lauded the impact of marquee striker Emile Heskey in the Jets 2-0 win over the Wanderers on Sunday and believes the Englishman is vital to the side-s top six chances.

“Yeah definitely, I think Emile is the key for us, I-ve always said that if he stays injury free and if somehow he can get on some scoring form like Taggart we will definitely be a contender,” he said.

“But we-ve got one game at a time and if Emile can do what he did last week it only benefits myself and Adam Taggart up front because he takes so much pressure off us.”

Taggart brought up his 10th goal of the season against the Wanderers and Griffiths admitted the youngster-s hot goal scoring form can lead him to the A-League-s Golden Boot.

“He-s got a good eye for goal which is always good, he-s got a lot of pace and being so young he doesn-t have as much pressure,” he said.

“He-s doing really well so hopefully he can continue this form for us, keep working hard and you never know he might have a Golden Boot at the end of the season.”

Griffiths played on the right flank against the Wanderers and admitted he is still adjusting to his new position after playing most of his career as a designated striker.

“Yeah I felt okay, I had to be smart how I went forward but overall I felt it was a fairly good hit out,” he said.

“Obviously with that 70 minutes under my belt I can go into the Heart game with a bit of confidence knowing I can get up and back, hopefully I can get better on that performance.”

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Heart
Saturday, March 8
Hunter Stadium
Kick-off 5.30pm
Tickets available from PROticket.