Former Central Coast Mariners defender Brent Griffiths looks back on his time at the club, his hopes for his next move and the impact short-term contracts have had on him on and off the pitch.

Q. After three seasons with the Mariners, last season proved to be your last; was it difficult to cope with the uncertainty of coming off contract?

BG: It was a difficult time as you are looking for your next contract and you are not sure what is going to happen. I was coming back from injury and at the time Phil Moss was the coach and he said ‘he was not sure they could offer me a contract at the time but if you start playing some games things can change.’ I opted to go and trial with an MLS team and as soon as I came back Mossy had been let go and it was time for me to find out from the club which direction the they were going to take and it turned out it was time to move on.

Q. As you touched on you suffered a long-term injury; what impact did that have on you?

BG: For myself being on one year contracts for the last four years I have always had in the back of my mind not to get injured. This is the first time I have had a substantial injury and multiple injuries and that made it very hard, not so much at the Mariners but more so going to other teams as I was unable to play. Being on a one year contract makes it very hard when you get injured.

Q. How do you look back on your time at the Mariners?

BG: I think the last three years have been fantastic. I came into a Championship winning team we had some great players and I learnt a lot. The second season I think to be fair people don’t give it as much credit as it deserves. Mossy took over early in the season and there were a lot of changes and we finished equal third and had a good run in the finals and did well in Asia. For the amount of things we have had to put up with, from change of ownership, lack of pay to no training ground the achievements over the three seasons have been amazing. The last season unfortunately due to injury was my worst.

Q. Does the uncertainty of one year contracts make it difficult to pursue off field development?

BG: I feel sorry for our PDM at the Mariners, Emily Figueroa, who was trying to help us to prepare for life after football because she was trying to help you but at the end of every season I’d have no idea where I was going to be and I didn’t want to start something without being able to finish it. That meant I only attempted to do smaller scale stuff rather than committing to something more long term.

Q. You are one of 70 A-League players from last season now looking for a new club; how do you cope with that uncertainty?

BG: It is tough but I think it was tougher when I younger as I was trying to work out whether I really wanted to be a football or maybe I was better to look at doing an apprenticeship like the rest of my mates but I made the decision that I would pursue this but it doesn’t make it any easier but you have to back yourself. You have to rely on family and friends to help get you through these times.

Q. Does it give you insight what players face at the end of the their careers?

BG: I have been lucky enough to have played with players that are coming into retirement such as Jamie Harnwell and John Hutchinson and many others. Some have been able to move on quickly but others have found it very tough. I have to start looking at where I want to go life post football because it will come to an end. After seeing the stats the PFA has come out with this year you realise just how hard it is.

Q. How far do you think the A-League has come over your time in it?

BG: I came back from Blackburn and I had year left on my contract there and wanted to train with the Glory to keep fit and I remember going to training and being in this horrible brick club house and I was freezing cold. When we were training we got out there and had some great players but we had dogs running on the park, general punters walking through training. From what it is now to then, it is apples and oranges and I can’t wait to see what it’s like in 10 years time.

Q. Finally, what are your hopes for next for the next move?

BG: I still feel there is a story for me to be told in the A-League but if that is not the case well that is the way it is. My hope is to play regular football in a team where I’m valued, whether that is in Asia, Australia or Europe I’m hoping to have a long career yet.

Each week to the PFA will go 1v1 with a current or former member to gain an insight into the lives of professional footballers on and off the pitch.