Lambton coach James Pascoe admits he is surprised Maitland let veteran midfielder Matt Thompson depart after confirming he has signed with Jaffas for this year's Northern NSW NPL season.
After five years at the Magpies, Thompson and the club could not come to terms for a sixth season with Pascoe stepping in to snare the 37-year-old former Newcastle Jets premiership-winner.
After being sidelined for two months with a calf tear during the middle of last season, Thompson, a former Socceroo, returned at the back end to play an instrumental role in the Magpies winning the premiership.
It was a factor not lost on Pascoe.
"He has captained two A-League clubs and scored 33 goals for Maitland in 88 games from the mid-field," he said. "I think he offers a lot still both on and off the field. I'm surprised Maitland didn't want him and I'm really glad to have him on board."
Pascoe is not concerned about Thompson's age.
"We've all seen what impact Daniel McBreen and Josh Rose have had at Edgeworth," he said. "It was the same with Jobe Wheelhouse and Joel and Ryan Griffiths for us over the last couple of seasons. Like I said, I'm really happy to have him."
From last year's squad, Jaffas have lost leading goal-scorer Braedyn Crowley to Maitland but the signing of Thompson comes following the recruitment of Mitch Oxborrow and Kale Bradbery from Broadmeadow and Scott Pettit from Hamilton.