LAMBTON Jaffas have rounded out their recruitment for the 2016 Northern NSW National Premier League with the signing of former Newcastle Jet and state league leading goalscorer Joel Wood.
The Jaffas were on the hunt for a striker to boost their squad, which finished second in the minor premiership race last year, and snared Wood after he became available in recent weeks.
Wood, 32 this year, had played the last two seasons with Maitland, joining them mid-season in 2014 and helping them gain promotion then compete in the 2015 NPL. The Magpies were not expecting to have Wood, who played in the Asian Champions League with Newcastle, back this season but his potential move interstate did not eventuate.
With Maitland signing former A-League players Dean Heffernan and Matt Crowell to boost their attack, the Jaffas took the chance to recruit Wood. Jaffas coach David Tanchevski was thrilled to add Wood to the likes of Luke Remington, John Majurovski, Alex Palozzi and Jamie Byrnes in his attacking arsenal.
“He’s an experienced striker who can play wide on the right or up top if Maj is out,” Tanchevski said.
“He can play anywhere in the front third and he’s been the top scorer in the competition before. He’s what we needed and he can add a new dimension to our attack.”
Former Jets Youth forward Beau McDonald was to play at the Jaffas but has left.
Promising Charlestown teenager Daniel Minors has also been training with the Jaffas after leaving the Blues.
Minors is one of three players in recent weeks to have exited Charlestown, who have also lost senior midfielder Matt Tull to a shoulder injury.
Goalkeeper Paul Bitz, who came to the club from Wollongong last season, and young centre-back Damian Cox are the other losses.
Tull was hurt when falling awkwardly at training in January and he was hoping to avoid season-ending surgery through physiotherapy. However, Pryce confirmed Tull was having the operation and would miss the season.
Pryce was on the lookout for replacements, especially in goals and in midfield, but said the side were buoyed by their 2-1 win over Weston in the FFA Cup on Saturday.
“Based on our result against Weston, where we still had three or four out, I think we’re still in a good place,” Pryce said.
“We got a win and the boys are happy. It’s got us going with a bit of confidence.”
Adamstown, who beat Maitland 2-0 in the FFA Cup on Saturday, have recruited Broadmeadow’s Joseph Grujevski and Englishman Alex Clarke from Singleton. However, they have lost teenager Aaron Niyonkuru, who has taken up an offer to join the Newcastle Jets Youth program.