Central Coast player Matt Millar was sent home from training on Thursday after the club discovered the fullback had no interest in renewing his contract with the Mariners, having already signed with their F3 derby rivals Newcastle.
Just two days out from their home clash with Melbourne Victory, Mariners coach Mike Mulvey did not let Millar train with the rest of the squad after learning he had signed with the Jets for next season.
It is understood the club was furious to learn of Millar's move north next season, having signed the fullback from the NPL and giving him a chance in the A-League. They were prepared to offer the defender a bumper contract extension which would have more than doubled his current earnings.
Millar's performances have arguably been the silver lining to an otherwise disastrous season for the Mariners.
However, those displays quickly piqued the attention of the Jets who wasted no time in making a move for the 22-year-old, immediately approaching him from December 1 when players became free to talk to rival clubs. The Mariners moved to initiate talks just this week, to learn Millar had already been snapped up by their fiercest rivals.
Central Coast declined to comment when contacted by the Herald on Thursday though sources suggest Millar will be expected back to training on Friday. However, his sending home has not been well received by all teammates. Privately, some have expressed their disappointment.
The Australian players' union, the PFA, were notified of the incident which took place on the same day PFA chief John Didulica was briefing the team about salary cap matters. It's understood the union is looking into the incident.
Meanwhile, Central Coast have signed two youth players from Sheffield United on loan for the remainder of the season. Eighteen-year-old English centre-back Sam Graham joins the club after loan spells with Halifax and Oldham Athletic where he played League Two football while Republic of Ireland youth international Stephen Mallon will bolster their attack.