Jets raid Roar to bolster department of youth

HIS father was a hired gun for the Newcastle Breakers, but Corey Brown has been recruited by the Jets to help plug a leaky defence.

The Herald understands that the 18-year-old left fullback, who is  on a youth team contract at the Brisbane Roar, has agreed to terms with the Newcastle Jets and is likely to link with the club when the A-League transfer window opens on Monday, January 14.

A Socceroo, Rod Brown netted 12 goals in 45 appearances for the Breakers in two seasons from 1994.

Strong in the air and lightning quick, the red-headed front man scored 127 goals in a national league career which spanned 15 seasons.

He won titles at Marconi and Brisbane Strikers and was the leading scorer at Marconi (twice), APIA-Leichhardt (three times) and Brisbane Strikers (twice).

Although a defender, Corey is a red-head just like his father and boasts similar physical attributes. 

A graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport, he was a member of the 2009 Joeys squad which failed to qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup and has also played 10 games for the Young Socceroos (under20s).

He has been stuck behind Shane Stefanutto at the Roar, where his  lone senior appearance came against Beijing Guoan in the Asian Champions League.

Turning 19 on Monday, Brown meets the criteria of the Gary van Egmond prototype – young, fast, technically sound and brought up on a possession-based game.

Dominik Ritter has played the majority of the Jets campaign at left back but is one of nine players off contract and has been linked to a return to Switzerland.

Marquee striker Emile Heskey and captain Jobe Wheelhouse head the list of players on the market, which includes Ruben Zadkovich, Michael Bridges, Tiago, Bernardo Ribeiro, Sam Gallaway and Marko Jesic.

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has reportedly targeted Zadkovich for next season, and with clubs now allowed to talk to players others are likely to follow suit.

Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby said determining who from the current squad they wanted to retain was a priority, but he has pin-pointed a few players they would like to bring to the club.

Heskey has been a revelation, scoring seven goals as well as lifting the club’s profile.

‘‘His agent comes out this month and hopefully we can sort something out,’’ Middleby said. ‘‘That is a big one.’’

Middleby has also held initial discussions with Wheelhouse. 

Aside from Heskey and Ritter, imports Michael Bridges (45 minutes in five games), Bernardo Ribeiro (219 minutes in five) and Tiago (613 minutes in seven) have struggled to make an impact and appear on the outer.

Middleby said bolstering the front third would again be a priority, but that could change due to the ‘‘amount of goals we are conceding’’.

‘‘We have some good young ones coming through and they are going to be better for it,’’ Middleby said. 

‘‘It is not just about the defence – there is the midfield holding role as well. Ben Kantarovski has been out for a large part of the season and Jobe has been out recently.

‘‘We need to see how they come back and whether or not we need another in the holding midfield role.

‘‘There is still half a season to go. A lot can happen in that time.’’

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