Lowe joins growing casualty list as Jets continue purge

THE Newcastle Jets’ clean-out continued yesterday when the club confirmed chief talent scout David Lowe was joining the exodus.

The former Socceroo and KB United hero was appointed in October 2010 as the club’s first full-time recruitment officer.

The popular Newcastle Herald columnist was told on Tuesday he was no longer required, a setback he accepted with typical dignity.

‘‘I’m disappointed but what do you say?’’ Lowe asked.

‘‘I met a lot of good people at the Jets and the Knights, even in the commercial side of things ... it’s a shame but I won’t go starving.’’

The Jets have released a host of senior players, including Jeremy Brockie, Francis Jeffers, Tarek Elrich, Byun Sung-hwan, Kasey Wehrman, Ali Abbas and Labinot Haliti.

They have opted for a youth policy to replace them, signing some of the most promising rookies in the country.

These tyros will provide the pace and mobility Jets coach Gary van Egmond is seeking, but another benefit is their wages, in general, will be lower than established players.

Asked yesterday if a cost-cutting policy was in place, the Jets declined to comment yesterday, saying only: ‘‘All details are on the Jets’ website.’’

On the website, Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby was quoted as saying: ‘‘The club is heading in a different on-field direction, with youth and local talent our key targets to be complemented with a variety of quality experienced on and off field contributors.’’

Middleby said Lowe, who will not be directly replaced, had been ‘‘an important contributor’’ to the Jets.

‘‘David is synonymous with football in Newcastle and I’m sure he will be an important part of continuing to build a strong Old Boys’ network,” Middleby said.

The website stated Lowe’s duties would be ‘‘absorbed with a more hands-on role of talent identification to be undertaken by the coaches’’.

It also said performance manager Lee Clark had been ‘‘promoted’’ to a dual role combining football operations and athletic development.

When Lowe was appointed, then coach Branko Culina said: ‘‘I couldn’t think of anyone better qualified than David to take up this position. He has a wealth of knowledge and is well-known at both the senior and grassroots level’’.

On the day Lowe was employed, the Jets announced plans to increase their football budget from $1.1million to $2.5million, which would include eight new support-staff positions.

The first three appointments were Lowe, striking coach Marshall Soper and goalkeeping coach Clint Gosling. All are gone. So is Culina, sacked six months into a four-year contract for reasons unexplained.

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