Newcastle coach Clayton Zane has labelled Adam Taggart an ideal “bolter for Brazil” after the 20-year-old striker ended the Melbourne Heart’s resurgent run and strengthened the Jets’ A-League finals hopes in a 1-0 win at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.
The Jets’ striker netted in the 53rd minute from close range after a great run into the area to go to 11 goals for the season and be the competition’s top scorer.
Josh Brillante who made the goal possible, taking a long ball wide off Ruben Zadkovich, making space with a fine first touch then showing pace to get behind the defence before hitting a pinpoint cross.
The victory was Newcastle’s second straight, lifting them into the top six, at least temporarily, on 29 points and ending the Heart’s undefeated streak, which stretched to a 3-0 loss to Perth on January 10. The Heart had won their past five games to rise to 24 points after a horror first half of the season.
Taggart created several more chances with his pace and strength and Zane believed the four-cap Socceroo should be in the frame for Ange Postecoglou’s World Cup squad in May.
“He has to be a bolter for Brazil,” Zane said.
“I would take that type of player just to give him the experience because he’s going to be in the national set-up for some time.
“The boy never stops finishing at training. All he wants to do is hit the back of the net. He’s desperate to score goals.
“If (Postecoglou) has got a spot at the back-end of the squad that he picks, a spot for a young player, I’m sure he’s already got Taggs in mind as one of those.”
Taggart went close to a brace in the 67th minute when Andrew Redmayne parried his shot wide. Heart coach John van ‘t Schip immediately brought Harry Kewell into the game in place of Orlando Engelaar but it was still all the Jets.
Redmayne was called on again four minutes later to deny Kew Jaliens’ crisp header before scrambling to block a runaway Taggart in the 84th. He repeated the dose against Taggart in injury time.
Iain Ramsay was just wide for Heart in the 90th minute but Newcastle clearly finished the stronger after looking second best in the first half.
Van’ t Schip was disappointed with his team’s performance but said conditions suited the taller and more physical Jets back and front lines.
“We couldn’t really play our game.
“The circumstances were not good. There was a lot of wind in the first half and the pitch was not in a good condition, so that makes it difficult to play on the ground and they were strong in the air.”