Newcastle Jets lock in young gun for three seasons

The Newcastle Jets have secured the services of exciting young winger, Joe Champness for the next three years.

The Moreton Bay United product – who also enjoyed a stint in the Brisbane Roar’s Youth team – will be a Jet until the end of the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League season.

Currently on a scholarship with the club, Joe will be upgraded to a full squad contract for the final two years of his deal.

Jets’ CEO, Lawrie McKinna, said the new contract was reward for Joe’s recent performances during pre-season.

“I’ve only heard good things about Joe’s attitude on the training pitch, and his preseason form speaks for itself,” said McKinna.

“He’s only young and has plenty to learn, but the experience he gained during his trip to Portugal was invaluable for a player of his age and potential.”

Champness, along with fellow scholarship player, Antonee Burke-Gilroy was sent on loan to Portuguese second-division side, Academia for six months – playing with the club’s reserve team.

Jets’ boss, Ernie Merrick acknowledged the role this trip has had on Champness’ current form.

“The deal with Academia was set up by our owner, Martin Lee, who is really keen to develop our younger players,” said Merrick.

“In Joe’s case, it has certainly had the desired effect and I’ve been really impressed with him as a player and a young man since joining the club.

“As a player, he’s got fantastic attacking ability, speed, creativity and a knack for finding himself in goal scoring opportunities.”

The young winger has made true on Merrick’s assessment, finding the back of the net against competition heavyweights Melbourne City, scoring a brace against Canberra Olympic and firing home the winner against Wellington Phoenix at Edgeworth.

Champness said he’s excited at the prospect of honing his craft in the Hunter over the next three seasons.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Newcastle so far, and was thankful for the time I spent in Portugal,” said Champness.

“It was really helpful for my development, and now working with some of the experienced guys in our group and the coaching staff has been great.

“It’s nice to have been able to make a contribution to some of the positive results we’ve seen on the pitch and I’m really enjoying the chance to develop my game week to week.

“It’s an exciting time for the club and I’m excited to be a part of it.”