THE Jets and Football Federation Australia have taken their first, tentative steps towards a possible reconciliation – but it may be too late to keep striker Jeremy Brockie in Newcastle.
FFA sources told the Newcastle Herald yesterday there had been behind-the-scenes dialogue this week between the two warring parties and the game’s governing body was waiting for the Jets to produce a list of discussion points.
But in contrast to the very public slanging match last week, it seems Hunter Sports Group would now rather negotiate in confidence.
HSG chief executive Troy Palmer said there had been ‘‘no movement at this stage’’.
Asked if he could confirm the club had been in contact with FFA, he said: ‘‘If we are going to have further discussions with FFA, we would prefer them to be confidential.’’
Whether there is any chance of salvaging the relationship remains to be seen, but the fact that both parties seem prepared to talk should offer a glimmer of hope for the thousands of Jets fans shattered by Nathan Tinkler’s decision last week to announce he intended to relinquish his franchise licence.
FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said on Monday that ‘‘our door remains open at any time for a conversation about a way forward’’.
Commonsense suggests both parties would prefer to compromise than become engaged in a protracted and expensive legal battle.
In the meantime, Newcastle’s players are in limbo, and Brockie said yesterday that he could not wait indefinitely to learn if the Jets would field a team next year.
The New Zealand international, who scored nine goals for Newcastle this season, revealed he was weighing up offers from Asia, American Major League Soccer and A-League rivals, one of whom is believed to be Wellington.
‘‘There’s a couple of offers on the table, plus interest that might turn into offers from different parts of the world,’’ the 24-year-old said.
‘‘I haven’t made my decision yet. I’m kind of biding my time and concentrating on my wedding next week ... obviously I’m disappointed with what has happened to the Jets, like everyone else.
‘‘I feel very sorry for the fans and sponsors and all the kids who want to play for the Jets.
‘‘Hopefully that can get resolved and there will be a Newcastle Jets in the future.
‘‘If they can get something sorted and put an offer on the table, I’m still open to that. But I can’t wait around too long, because it is my job.’’
Wellington coach Ricki Herbert, who also steers the New Zealand national team, confirmed yesterday the Phoenix were interested in luring Brockie back to his homeland.
“He’s a great kid and he’s done fantastically well,’’ Herbert said. ‘‘So if we can come to some sort of agreement, I don’t think we’d be too far away.
“Hopefully in Jeremy’s mind we are the main team that he’s looking to join.’’
Brockie, whose career has taken him from Auckland to Sydney to Townsville and Newcastle, admitted Wellington was an attractive option.
He grew up in nearby Nelson and has family in the New Zealand capital.
‘‘I won’t mention any clubs, but obviously Wellington would be very appealing, being able to play professionally in your home country,’’ he said.
Brockie is one of a host of established Jets players out of contract, along with Michael Bridges, Ali Abbas, Byun Sung-hwan, Labinot Haliti and Mario Simic.
Players under contract are also facing an uncertain future, although they have been assured their deals will be honoured.