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Feb 22, 2008

Twin influence has Griffiths pair firing

There is perhaps little surprise in the fact a Griffiths sits atop of the Newcastle Jets yellow card count this A-League season.

What may be of shock is that it's not Joel Griffiths - a striker who before this season was generally regarded as a bit of a hot head, prone to lashing out - but rather his twin brother and Jets defender Adam.

While Joel has been booked just five times in 22 games, Adam has been carded eight in 19.

Neither have been red carded - last season Joel was sent off twice.

In fact the Jets are on track to become just the second team in the A-League's short history to go through a season without a send-off, providing they finish with 11 men in Sunday's grand final against bitter rivals Central Coast.

That, in no small part, is due to Adam's considerable influence in curbing his brother's previous unruly ways in their first year together at the club.

"He's a calming influence," said Joel of his brother.

"He's always in my ear telling me to calm down and he's probably the reason why I'm so calm on the field now.

"I can concentrate on my own game, on my own football and it seems like it is working."

There's little doubt Adam's calming influence has allowed Joel to flourish this season.

Griffiths has topped the A-League scoring charts with 14 goals - including two in the final series - this season, and is heavily favoured to win the player of the year award.

If all goes his way on Sunday, he could well finish the season with an amazing quadrella - a championship, golden boot, Johnny Warren Medal, and Joe Marston medal for player of the grand final.

If he does, Adam will no doubt feature prominently in his acceptance speech.

"Adam knows Joel inside and out," said Jets coach Gary van Egmond of the 27-year-old twins.

"He sees the warning signs in Joel and calms him down and (Joel) listens to that, and it's good that he heeds that advice when needed.

"There's been a few times that Adam's averted a few things and not just in games but also on the training pitch as well. I think he's been excellent."

Adam, too, has had a successful season in his own right, a fact not lost on van Egmond.

"He's not just been excellent for Joel and that's all there is, he's been fantastic for the club in general," the coach said.

"He's been very effective on the pitch and obviously he's part of the leadership group, so he's been a real good recruit for us."

While the twins go head to head with Central Coast on Sunday, younger brother, and fellow professional footballer, Ryan Griffiths will be trying desperately to keep up to date with proceedings in Romania, where he is currently playing with Rapid Bucharest.

"It's a bit colder there and he might be a little bit lonely, so he'll probably just try to sit back and catch it on TV somewhere," quipped Adam.

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