Perth keep on producing top talent

Should a State of Origin style competition ever be introduced into Australian football, Western Australia would be well placed for success.

Should a State or Origin style competition ever be introduced into Australian football then Western Australia would be well placed for success, with Perth producing a catalogue of young stars in recent years.

Unfortunately for the state's Hyundai A-League representatives Perth Glory, many of those young guns have, for a variety of reasons, sought their footballing fortunes elsewhere.

Glory come up against home-grown talent on a regular basis, with Friday night's visit to Newcastle Jets a case in point.

The Jets possess three of Perth's finest products in full-back Scott Neville, goalkeeper Mark Birighitti and promising forward Adam Taggart.

The latter, having been capped by Australia late last year, has been a standout performer this season with an off-season move from Perth to Newcastle proving profitable for the 19-year-old.

Taggart believes, however, that with the recent appointments of Alistair Edwards and Gareth Naven at the Glory helm, means the club are on the right track following the exodus of local talent over recent years.

"It is important to have your local talent staying in their home town," said Taggart.

"They (Perth Glory) are probably on the right track now having someone like Gareth Naven, who has worked with the young kids, involved at the top."

Taggart, a graduate of the Glory's National Youth League team and more recently the Australian Institute of Sport, says the Perth football production line is in a healthy state, as evidenced by the headline-grabbing debut of 15-year-old Daniel De Silva against Sydney FC last Saturday.

"There is countless numbers of players coming out of Perth," said Taggart.

"The youth system with Kenny Lowe and the younger players, and having Gareth Naven with the youth team, has combined to produce a lot of players.

"Having people like Gareth Naven … he will probably look to keep a lot of the players coming through, which I think is a real positive for the club. It is the same over here in Newcastle, and they have done really well with trying to retain local young players.

"A lot of the players have gone off in different directions, but we are all quite close having gone through the same system."

Taggart will be up against a couple of his closest mates, in reference to full-back Josh Risdon and centre-back Jack Clisby, when the Glory tackle Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium in a crucial match-up for both teams' play-off ambitions.

"Us three were pretty close back in Perth and I grew up knowing Jack who lived around the corner from me," said Taggart, who hopes to feature for the Young Socceroos at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey this June.

"With them being defenders and me being an attacker, and being an interesting time to come up against each other, I'm sure it will be a good battle.

"I keep in contact with them. I haven't spoken to them this week, and I don't really want to until after the game … depending on the result!"

When asked if playing against your home town side adds an extra edge to the match, Taggart said: "Playing against your home town there are a lot of relationships, and we all have close mates still in the side.

"And obviously you want to get a little one-up on all your mates back home who support Perth. So it adds a little extra spice, but at the end of the day it is not something we are focussing on, rather it-s about the whole team bouncing back from last week."

Taggart says that Jets remain confident despite enduring a tumultuous week which included a rare win at Wellington Phoenix, only to then crash to a one-sided 5-0 defeat against a rampant Melbourne Victory.

"Obviously with us coming off a big loss, it (the match against Perth) is a big test of character so everyone really wants to bounce back with a positive result," he said.

"I don't think our confidence is dented. It was more disappointment last week. We were positive going into that, so that was a massive disappointment.

"We had a really good game in Wellington so it is just a case of focussing on what we did wrong and what we can do better."