Freak finish: Top footballer’s career in limbo after mishap
LEFT sidelined for months after scoring the winning goal, one of Ipswich's most lethal footballers knows his higher level career is most likely over.
However, current Bulls and long-time former Knights striker Trent Griffiths will wait and see what his sporting future holds.
Being as fit as he has been in years, "Griffo'' was struck down in freakish circumstances.
The classy footballer had just scored a goal off the final play of the match to secure City a 3-2 trial victory over Willowburn when his worst fears were realised.
One week before the Bulls resume Capital League 1 competition, Griffiths was suddenly left on crutches after severely damaging his right knee.
He suffered a ruptured medial ligament and compression fracture in his tibia after a Willowburn defender tackled him as he released the shot that scored.
"I don't need surgery which is good,'' Griffiths said.
However, Griffiths will require at least three months rest and rehabilitation, having to wear a knee brace for at least five weeks.
"It was the last kick of the game,'' the former Premier League and Queensland representative footballer said, recalling what happened.
"All I remember is shooting, the ball went in the net, and I don't even know where the (Willowburn) guy come from or what he did.
"I didn't see him. I didn't know how he tackled me.''
Griffiths said the next minute, after scoring at Sutton Park, he was in tremendous pain and needed assistance from the field.
"It was pretty sore after that,'' he said. "It (the knee) just felt really unstable.''
Turning 39 next year, Griffiths said it was unlikely he would return to higher level football.
"I'd say that's probably me done for the season,'' he said, hinting a run in lower grades may be his best option of returning.
"I'm not sure.
"I keep saying it's my last season but you get to a point where you're fit.
"It was probably the fittest I've been for a long time.
"I was enjoying it, scoring goals and when you're like that, you think 'I could probably play again' but getting to that point is the hard part, doing all the fitness work.''
Before the nasty setback, Griffo was in great nick preparing for the Football Brisbane season to restart after the COVID-19 shutdown.
He was running up to seven kilometres regularly with good friend, former Knights teammate and newly-appointed Queensland Times editor Andrew Korner.
"We pushed ourselves to a point where we were fitter than what we thought,'' he said.
Yet Griffiths knows as well as anyone how cruel football can be.
"Even though I had injuries throughout my career, I've been pretty lucky in terms of the seriousness of them,'' he said.
"I've had sore knees. I had the cartilage out in my other knee when I was about 11 or 12.
"I've had little aches and pains but nothing sort of major.''
As he focuses on rehabilitating his knee, the Raceview resident can reflect on an outstanding football career.
He started with Coalstars juniors, becoming a goal-scoring lynchpin of the Knights attack for many years. That included a satisfying 2006 season helping the Knights win Division 1 and gain promotion to the Premier League competition.
"That was a great year winning the league,'' he said.
Griffiths never let a team down on the field with his fleet-footed skills and ability to convert attacking opportunities into well-constructed goals.
The outstanding team man was also a regular selection in Brisbane representative sides and earned a Queensland spot in the early 2000s.
He had one season with Taringa apart from his fiercely loyal stint at the Knights.
Griffiths joined the Bulls last year having boosted his fitness levels and wanting to enjoy his football again.
Ironically, he played against the Knights for the first time lining up for the Bulls in a trial two weeks ago.
While disappointed to have this season cut short before it began, Griffo was his usual calm self.
"It's just one of those things. You just have to roll with the punches,'' he said.