Jets door opens for Musialik via youth team

STUART Musialik is likely to be offered a specially created mentor playing position with the Jets youth side for the Northern NSW State League season as a step to bring him back to the A-League club full-time.

The Jets under-20 squad will be allowed to register one over-age, uncontracted player in their second season in the state league, which kicks off next month.

Northern NSW Football chief executive David Eland revealed yesterday that the mentor player rule was created with Musialik in mind after discussions with Jets counterpart Robbie Middleby in recent weeks.

Although Musialik is not certain to fill the role, Eland said state league clubs were told the 2007-08 Jets grand final winner was the reason the position had been floated.

‘‘It’s for a very specific case,’’ Eland said.

‘‘Stuart Musialik has been invited to train with them and we believe that playing in the state league would provide Stuart with a tremendous opportunity to perhaps resurrect his professional career with a professional club while playing in his home town.

‘‘I think it’s a great opportunity for the player, particularly given his standing in the game and the fact he’s a local.

‘‘I think it’s of great benefit to the league as well to have someone of his stature playing in our competition and playing with the Jets.

‘‘Even if he doesn’t resurrect his career, he will be a great player to have in amongst those young kids.

‘‘It will be of great benefit to them.’’

Musialik’s manager, Joel Grennell, said the Jets were yet to approach him or his client about the role, but he believed it could be a winner.

‘‘There’s been no mention of any sort of mentor roles for Stuey,’’ he said. ‘‘The only thing going on with him at the moment is the possibility of joining the Jets next year.

‘‘I will be coming up to Newcastle next week to catch up with Stuey and the club and see exactly where everything is at.

‘‘Hopefully they put something to us then. If that’s the case, the role would be ideal for where we are at with Stuey.’’ 

Musialik, a Beijing Olympian, has not played in the A-League since February 2011, when he parted ways with Sydney FC after three seasons.

The 27-year-old Adamstown junior spent 2011-12 with the Central Coast Mariners, but injuries and off-field issues ruined his season.

The Jets invited the midfielder to train with them last December, but he has spent his time since working alone on his fitness.

The mentor player concession was not tabled to clubs in original discussions, which failed to resolve guidelines for Jets youth registration.

Clubs were split on the rules, leaving the NNSWF board to decide on guidelines at their February 14 meeting.

Other changes were the allowance of three under-20 A-League contracted players to be part of the 68-strong Jets roster across the state league grades.

Those three must not be established A-League players. The definition of an established player was changed from someone who has appeared in 10 games for each of the past two seasons to one who has started in 10 in total over the past two campaigns.

The Jets will also be allowed to register an over-age goalkeeper.

Jets youth coach Clayton Zane has said Mitch Cooper, Mitch Oxborrow and goalkeeper Jack Duncan are likely to fill the A-League-contracted spots.

Eland said clubs were told of the mentor player proposal and asked for feedback. He said only two clubs were against it.

‘‘The majority of clubs were positive about mentor rule and particularly about Stuart,’’ he said.

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