Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond has lauded the performance of Adam Taggart following his side's 3-1 win over Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond has lauded the performance of Adam Taggart following his side's 3-1 win over Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
The 20-year-old striker bagged his first hat-trick in the A-League to take his tally to six goals for the season and propelled the Jets into equal third spot after three straight wins.
"Yeah I'm really pleased for him he's worked very hard physically in the off season and he's always been one to look to score goals in youth competitions," Van Egmond said after the win over the Heart.
"To make that transition from a promising youth player to a senior player is not always so easy especially for strikers and today he really took his chances well.
"What was so pleasing was they weren't just easy goals, he's getting more types of finishes, we saw last week with his left foot, he's getting goals from outside the box now.
"He's very good within the box with one-touch finishing, he's got a few other area to keep on improving but nice to see him developing."
The youngster has now scored five goals in the last four matches and his performances have drawn comparisons to former Newcastle Jets fan favourite Joel Griffiths.
Van Egmond revealed that he had spoken to Taggart about his performances earlier in the season and used Griffiths' as an example of how the former Glory striker could improve his own game.
"I had a good chat to him after the Wellington game and I said to him 'do yourself a favour, YouTube the 2007-08 season and have a look a Joel, how he moved and what he did and his work ethic off the ball," Van Egmond said.
"He really has responded to being able to visualize and see what Joel did, they're very similar players in certain ways but Taggs is his own man."
The Jets struggled to get into the game in the opening 20 minutes as the Heart dominated possession but a spectacular volley from Taggart close to half-time ensured the hosts went into the break on top.
They carried on with it in the second half thanks to a clinic finish from Taggart on the edge of the area and despite the Heart getting a goal back, the youngster completed his treble shortly after to seal a dominant victory for the hosts.
"We're getting some momentum and confidence obviously from the wins and scoring goals, so that's very pleasing," Van Egmond said.
"There's very good competition at training, a lot of the reasons why some of the boys are working so well is the competition that there is within the squad.
"I think we are starting to reap the benefit of the hard work not only from this year but the year or two prior.
"It was very pleasing that we were able to respond in the manner that we did, we created a number of opportunities so from that point of view it was very pleasing."
After a slow start to the campaign, the Jets have recorded three straight victories to sit in equal third position with Sydney FC on the A-League ladder.
The Jets face the Sky Blues next weekend in Sydney and Van Egmond feels it will be a tough challenge for his side, especially away from home.
"We've got a very difficult game next weekend, Sydney are on a real high, we're playing in their home town and it won't be an easy game," he said.