Where are they now: Newcastle Jets’ inaugural A-League Men’s starting XI

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On November 1, 2004, Football Federation Australia announced that Newcastle Jets were one of eight teams to have earned a place in the newly formed Hyundai A-League.

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The Jets have now been part of the league for 17 seasons and seen more than 200 players represent the club. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what some of the original 2005 squad members have been up to and what they’re doing now.

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Richard Money

Former English footballer Richard Money was the man in charge of the Jets for their first season as part of the Hyundai A-League.

Leading the club to a fourth-place finish and a place in the finals series, Money is statistically one of the most successful coaches in Newcastle’s history.

After relocating back to England in 2006, Money has most recently managed Cambridge United, overseeing the side’s return to the Football League after a nine-year absence. He was, however, dismissed from Cambridge in November 2015 and is a current academy director for the Atlanta United.

Players still in the A-League Men:

Liam Reddy

Reddy played for Newcastle Jets in the inaugural A-League season but left after one season after falling out with coach Nick Theo. Reddy then went on to play for Brisbane Roar, Wellington Phoenix, Sydney FC, Central Coast Mariners, Western Sydney Wanderers and currently plays as goalkeeper for his seventh club Perth Glory. During the 2020/21 season, Reddy moved into fifth place in Glory’s all-time A-League appearances list.

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Players still in the game:

Matt Thompson

Thompson played with the Jets for five seasons making 121 appearances and managed to score 19 goals. Thompson was made captain of the club for his final season due to a new policy that stated that the player who has the most top-flight appearances for the club would receive the captain’s armband. Thompson then went on to play for Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC before leaving retiring from the A-League Men. These days, Johnson plays for Valentine FC in the National Premier Leagues Northern NSW.

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Guy Bates

After playing for his hometown club Newcastle United in the UK, Bates moved to another Newcastle and signed with the Jets where he played in their inaugural A-League Men season. Although he played and scored regularly in the club’s pre-season, he did not make his ALM debut until round four of the season. He went on to appear two more times and made the decision to leave the club at the season’s conclusion. After going on to play for multiple clubs throughout England, these days Bates plays for West Allotment Celtic FC.

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Paul Kohler 

Kohler played for the Jets for three seasons and was part of the club’s championship team. He appeared 48 times during his time with the club before moving on to sign with North Queensland Fury. Kohler currently plays for MA Olympic FC in Queensland.

Players that have retired:

Steve Eagleton

After playing with the Jets for the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons, Eagleton was released from the club. He was, however, re-signed before the start of the 2007/08 season. Despite this, his campaign was cut short by injury, though he did join his teammates in celebrating their championship. As a result of injury, Eagleton retired from professional football and currently coaches the Central Coast Mariners Academy Under 11 team.

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Jade North

After beginning his journey with the Jets in 2005, North went on to be named captain of the club for the 2007/08 season following the departure of Paul Okon. North made a total of 92 appearance for the Jets and managed to score himself two goals over four seasons with the club. After finishing up in the league with Brisbane Roar, North went on to play with Murray United and Eastern Suburbs. These days, North is co-chair of Football Australia’s inaugural National Indigenous Advisory Group.

Craig Deans

After playing with Newcastle Jets for their first two seasons in the A-League, Deans retired from football after a long period of injury. Following his retirement, Deans became the youth team coach for Newcastle. Following coaching stints with several Newcastle Jets teams at different levels, Deans became head coach of the Jets ALM team. Following a turbulent period as head coach, Deans stepped down from the role at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season making way for Arthur Papas to take the top job.

Ned Zelić 

Zelić played just one season with Newcastle, and it was their inaugural season at that. During his season with the Jets, Zelić captained the team and even managed to score himself a goal. Despite signing a two-year deal with the club, Zelić made the decision to play just one season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee after the semi-finals of his first season. He then decided to move back overseas and continued to play for a further two seasons. Most recently, Zelić was a commentator for Fox Sports.

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Andrew Durante 

Durante appeared in 40 games for the Jets over three seasons. Not only was he a member of the Jets’ debutant squad, but he was also a member of the club’s championship team. He was even awarded the Joe Marston Medal after his man-of-the-match performance during the grand final. After playing for the Jets, Durante went on to play for Wellington Phoenix, Sydney FC and finished his ALM career with Western United after the 2020/21 season.

Richard Johnson 

After moving back to Australia, Johnson joined his hometown club Newcastle Jets in the newly formed A-League. He played a key-role in the club’s first season, starting 20 out of 23 games. After one season with the club, Johnson moved to New Zealand and signed with New Zealand Knights for their final season before signing with the newly-formed Wellington Phoenix the following season. Johnson retired from professional football at the conclusion of the 2008/09 season and is currently the academy director at English club Watford after having held several administrative positions at the club since 2018.

Ante Milicic 

Milicic played for the Jets for one season, during which he became the first player in the A-League to score a hat-trick. He went on to score a total of seven goals from 20 appearances for the club. Milicic went on to play for Queensland Roar before joining the Malaysian Premier League. These days, you’ll find Ante Milicic coaching Macarthur FC.

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Nick Carle 

Carle played for Newcastle for two seasons and proved popular with their fans. In February 2007, Carle won the prestigious Johnny Warren Medal for the players’ player of the year for his performance throughout the 2006/07 season. After a stint overseas to improve his football, Carle returned and signed with Sydney FC for five seasons. In 2016, he announced his retirement from professional football following a knee injury and accepted a job working with the Sydney FC academy.

Mateo Corbo

Corbo played for Newcastle during their inaugural season and appeared 18 times. He was best known for his rock-solid defensive skills and his aggression on the field. He then went on to play for Hercules CF in Spain before retiring.

Feature Image Credit: Newcastle Jets 

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Grace Clegg
Grace Clegg
Covering the Newcastle Jets for the 2021/22 season. Studying a Bachelor of Communication (News Media and PR) at the University of Newcastle. Coffee addict.

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