SAM Gallaway agreed to a mid-season move to Asian champions Western Sydney Wanderers to get out of his comfort zone and kick-start a career which had stalled.
The out-of-favour Jets fullback inked a short-term contract on Tuesday with Wanderers for the group stage of their Asian Champions League defence.
Wanderers’ A-League roster is full, meaning Gallaway may get only eight ACL games to earn a longer deal.
It is a risk but one the 22-year-old Coffs Harbour product is willing to take.
‘‘I have only known Newcastle,’’ said Gallaway, who made 44 appearances for the Jets in four seasons after joining the club from the Australian Institute of Sport.
‘‘For me to venture somewhere else is a very big thing ... to get out of my comfort zone and bring something new into my football.
‘‘It is a little bit of a risk, but I thought the best thing for me was a change. I wasn’t playing in Newcastle.
‘‘Don’t get me wrong, I love Newcastle, I love the place and the people in it.
‘‘But this is my job. For me to improve work-wise I had to get out of Newcastle.
‘‘This opportunity was too good to miss.’’
A regular last season, Gallaway had been limited to four appearances this campaign, the last of which was a 1-all draw with the Mariners on November 30.
After agreeing to terms on Sunday night, Gallaway joined Wanderers on Monday at a training camp in Coffs Harbour.
‘‘It is definitely a different environment,’’ Gallaway said. ‘‘We are working a lot harder.
‘‘I had a little chat to Poppa when I got here, but it was more, ‘Welcome, this what we do, we have a winning culture here and don’t like whingers’.’’ The Newcastle Herald reported in December that Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was interested in Gallaway, whose Jets contract was up at end of the season.
‘‘Pretty much after our second phone call, I knew in my head the best thing for me was to leave,’’ he said. ‘‘Wanderers are a massive club and Poppa is very good coach.
‘‘He was a defender and played for the Socceroos. For me to have the opportunity to learn off someone like that was massive. Being a defender that is what I want.’’
After releasing Adam D’Apuzzo and Jerome Polenz at the end of last season, Popovic has used a number of players at right and left fullback.
Nigerian recruit Seyi Adeleke has struggled to find his feet and Shannon Cole, Daniel Mullen, Anthony Golec, Brendan Hamill and Daniel Alessi have all taken turns.
As well as Gallaway, Wanderers have signed Japanese fullback Yusuke Tanaka.
Both are on contracts for the ACL but could be moved on to the A-League roster if there are departures in the transfer window, which closes on February 3.
‘‘Golec and Mullen started on the same thing last year and got full contracts,’’ Gallaway said. ‘‘If I don’t get a chance to play in the A-League I have to prove myself in the Champions League which is a bigger step up.’’
Gallaway’s exit is the Jets’ first activity in the window and leaves two spots available after the release of winger Jonny Steele in December.
David Carney has been strongly linked to a move to Sydney FC. But the Jets said yesterday that the in-form winger’s status had not changed.
‘‘David is contracted to the Newcastle Jets and is still training with the club,’’ a spokesman said.