Newcastle Jets have announced the signing of Kaine Sheppard on a one-year deal from NPL Victoria club Avondale FC.
The talented 24-year-old striker joins the Jets after hitting 20 goals in 26 appearances this season.
Sheppard also guided Avondale to the FFA Cup 2018 Quarter Finals, finding the back of the net in 4-1 victories over Marconi Stallions and Devonport City respectively.
Named on the bench in last night's 4-2 Quarter Final defeat to Sydney FC, Sheppard arrived into the fray in the second half of extra time but was unable inspire his side to a late comeback.
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The English-born forward said he was excited to be heading north and linking up with Ernie Merrick's Jets.
“I’m really happy to be given the chance to test myself again in a professional set-up,” Sheppard said.
“I’ve had some experience in a similar environment in Finland last year, and being able to dedicate myself to football will help me get the best out of myself as a player.
“Joining the Jets is something which really excites me and I think I’ll benefit from playing under Ernie and the freedom he allows players in the final third.”
Sheppard was offered a trial by Merrick and performed strongly against the Young Socceroos up front, scoring from a set piece in the team's 4-1 win on the Central Coast.
The Jets boss said that Sheppard would provide further depth to the club’s attacking stocks.
“We brought him in on trial and he’s done exceptionally well,” Merrick said.
“Kaine performed strongly in two FFA Cup appearances this year and has been consistently good all season down in Victoria.
“He’s a clever player that reads the game well, makes great runs and has a strong physical presence – a really coachable player that I’m looking forward to working with this season.”