In all honesty, when you think of Australian players to have represented Blackburn Rovers in recent years, you are probably more likely to think of someone such as Brett Emerton or Lucas Neill, than Vince Grella.
While both Emerton and Neill made well over 200 appearances to establish themselves as first0team regulars during their time at Ewood Park, Grella’s spell in Lancashire was somewhat less successful.
Admittedly, having joined Rovers for a reported £4million from Serie A side Torino on a four-year deal in the summer of 2008, much will have been expected of the midfielder upon his arrival at the club.
Ultimately however, things simply did not work out for Grella, with a string of knee, calf and groin injuries blighting the midfielder’s stay at Ewood Park.
Grella would leave Rovers at end of the 2011/12 season having made just 45 appearances in all competitions during his four years at the club, failing to score for the club, and playing just two matches during his final campaign in Lancashire, which saw Blackburn relegated after an 11-year stay in English football’s top-flight.
Following his exit from Blackburn, things would sadly not improve for Grella from a footballing perspective, if anything getting worse.
The midfielder’s departure from Blackburn saw him return to Australia with Melbourne Heart – now Melbourne City – but it was not a move that would go to plan.
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After his move, injuries would force Grella to wait for two months before he could make his debut for Melbourne, and when he did, the midfielder, who had been brought on as a 68th minute substitute against Western Sydney Wanderers would suffer a torn calf that forced him to retire only two days later at the age of just 33.
Explaining the reasons for his retirement, Grella would describe that injury as being a ‘crushing blow’ that made him realise he was no longer capable of competing on the pitch, forcing to him to make the decision to retire, despite still holding a passion for playing the game.
With his playing career now over, Grella has become an agent, with former Hull midfielder Jackson Irvine – who recently joined Scottish Premiership side Hibernian – among his clients.
It also appears as though the connections with Rovers have completely gone, with former Blackburn striker Matt Derbyshire joining Australian side McArthur Bulls thanks to some help from both Grella and the aforementioned Emerton, a move that seems to have gone well, with the striker netting a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Adelaide United on Friday, taking him to five goals in eight appearances for the newly-formed club.
From a playing perspective however, you have to feel that given the way things worked out for Grella, were he to be given the opportunity to go back and change what happened from the moment he arrived at Ewood Park, it is a chance that he would surely have to take.