Constantine confirmed to that Melbourne Heart has all but bagged the 27-year-old foundation player.

"I think the boy is going down there definitely," said Constantine. "I can understand it, they're a new club and they want a few players and they offered him a lot more than we offered him.

"But that's life, he's got a few years left and if he's going to get thousands of dollars good luck to him. If a player wants to leave us, all we can say is good luck, thank you for your services and see you later."

Constantine said it was impossible to match Heart's deal given the Jets are already locked into existing player salary agreements. 

"I was hoping we might have been able to sort something out today but the gap is too great," Thompson told The Newcastle Herald last night, which speculated the Melbourne Heart deal to be worth close to $200,000 a season.

Thompson was also subject to an audacious move by local rivals the Mariners in recent days but appears bound for the Bubble Dome.

The Jets have made every effort to keep their skipper, says Constantine, with coach Branko Culina and CEO John Tsatsimas speaking with Thompson and his manager Brad Maloney  in recent days.

"They told us, they can't get that far [financially]. We just haven't got that sort of money," added Constantine.

And Constantine, while not overly bitter, painted a realistic picture for his exiting skipper.

He added: "He's a player, a good player. Some times in life you look across the road and the grass seems greener but when you get there it's yellow."