WANTED MAN: Kew Jaliens checking out Newcastle Jets training in March this year. Picture: Simone De PeakBack-to-back wooden spooners Weston are hopeful Dutch international Kew Jaliens will come out of retirement to add experience to their 2018 Northern NSW NPL line-up.
Jaliens, 39, last played in 2015 when he made 11 A-League appearances for Melbourne City after36 games with Newcastle.He was captain when one of five players then-Jets owner Nathan Tinkler exiled from the club following a player revolt against coach Phil Stubbins.
The Beijing Olympian took on the technical director role at Weston in 2016 but resisted approaches to play.
Gerard Carey took overas TD late last season but Jaliens remained a weekly feature on the field, as well as helping coach Steve Piggott off it, at senior Weston training.
Jaliens has made an appearance at Bears training this pre-season, fueling speculation he may play next year. However, Weston presidentRod Henderson said: “I can’t say definitively yet that he’s going to play.”
“He has been training with the boys and is helping Piggo with the coaching side of things, but we’ll just have to see how it goes. He’s still doing a hell of a lot with the kids here, and he’s trying to stay fit.
“If he did play, it would be fantastic for the club and he would be a revelation for the competition.”
On the prospect of Jaliens playing, Piggott said: “There’s always a possibility but the reality is people have got to make their own minds up.”
Piggott said Jaliens was interested in the club andhelping its young talent.
“He’s just been to training once so far, I think, so nothing much has changed,” he said. “If he wanted to play, great, but he hasn’t played before.
“He’s just coming to help out and he’s got a wealth of knowledge so I’ll tap into it.
“He’s coming to our trial game next week to help out, but he’s not playing in it. That’s where it’s at.”
Jaliens could not be reached for comment.
Nathan Morris, who won a grand final with Lambton Jaffas this year, could also return for the Bears. Henderson said Morris wastraining with Weston to testout his knee following an operation.
Weston have gained Josh Maguire, Jackson Burston and Regan Lundy but Todd McSorley is unlikely to play.
On Morris’ potential return, Piggott said: “We had a chat, and he asked if he couldcome have a bit of a kick.
“He’s another with awealth of experience and if he decides to play again, that’s great.If he doesn’t and wants to be involved around the club, that’s great as well.
“More and more of these ex-players need to become coaches. That’s a big part for me.
“Nathan’s father, Trevor, isback involved with the 15s, Jamie Subat is coaching the 20s.
“Weston needs these people who have been involved with the club for a long time to be involved with the juniors. That’s a big goal for me.”
He said Weston were stilllooking for another experienced player and had room for an import.