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I have made little effort to disguise my admiration of Adam Taggart’s skills as a finisher.
There is no reason for me to do so. We are not related, Adam doesn’t pay me to write nice things about him and having a little man crush on an Australian footballer sits fine with me.
The start that the 25-year-old has made at his new digs in Brisbane might also have quite a number of those up north feeling much the same way.
With five goals from as many matches and a number of other chances coming close to the mark, Taggart leads the race to the golden boot alongside Sydney FC’s Adam le Fondre.
There is little coincidence that Taggart’s arrival makes Brisbane look decidedly more menacing in front of goal, even though the Roar haVE produced far more rocks than diamonds over the opening month of the competition.
Bluntly, Brisbane has not been particularly convincing as a team thus far. A scrappy scoreless draw with Wellington and a first-half nightmare in Mudgee against the Wanderers are two clear examples of the inconsistency that has marred its early-season performances.
Stubbornly I still lock them in as likely winners when I do my tips on a Wednesday, feeling sure that Taggart is the key and believING that once his combinations with Alex Lopez and Eric Bautheac blossom to their full height, the Roar will be roaring.
That tipping strategy has not paid dividends thus far – until Saturday night, that is, when the men in orange grabbed their first full complement of points for the season against a mysteriously Bruno Fornaroli-less Melbourne City.
It was Taggart on either side of the break with his fourth and fifth goals of the season. Again there were other chances gone begging, and if the Perth-born striker does have a day on which a little luck goes his way, the possibilities are mouth-watering.
Of course he has done it all before, winning the golden boot in 2013-14 with the Jets. Taggart found 16 goals that season and Australia collectively hoped that he would lead the next generation of Socceroos striking stocks.
As is so often the case with Australian footballers, Taggart experienced little success abroad thanks to unfortunate injuries and limited opportunity, and his time with Fulham and Dundee United did little to further his development.
Two recent seasons back at the Glory saw Taggart far more settled and back in the consistent footballing rhythm required to succeed as a marksman up front.
Meanwhile, north of the eastern seaboard border, John Aloisi was performing a minor miracle and guiding the Roar to a highly unlikely appearance in the 2017-18 A-League finals. Despite the collective sigh of relief expended by Aloisi and his staff, the entire organisation knew that something had to change and far more punch up front was required.
Since the departure of Jamie Maclaren, the Roar have missed the point of focus that he provided. Massimo Maccarone tried hard as a spearhead yet became something of a blue-collar worker rather than the flashy goal scorer for which Brisbane had hoped.
Bautheac looked the goods, Thomas Kristensen brought some class to the midfield and Jamie Young’s performances in goal led to peer and public acclaim. Yet Aloisi still hadn’t found what he was looking for – until he completed the signings of both Taggart and Spaniard Alex Lopez prior to the 2018-19 season.
Lopez looks a flat-out star, and the evidence of vast La Liga experience is clear for all to see. However, he will not find the net frequently. Control of midfield and creative assists are Lopez’s thing. Taggart will be the key for Aloisi when it comes to the score sheet.
So key, in fact, that Brisbane has just six goals to its name this season. Lopez is Brisbane’s only scorer other than Taggart to this point.
Aloisi has now gone public, stating that his striker has much more in the tank. If the overall performance of the team improves 20 to 30 per cent, as it needs to, Taggart could be in for a mammoth haul this season.
With so much made of the supposed dearth of talent in Australian goal-scoring stocks, it is fantastic to see Chris Ikonomidis, Craig Goodwin and Taggart himself flying the flag when it comes to Australian A-League goal production.
It is possible that Graham Arnold may call on all three for the rapidly approaching Asian Cup defence in January. I for one would like to see Taggart there as the Socceroos enter a scary place without Tim Cahill lurking to heroically produce the astonishing.
Taggart’s Socceroo journey began in 2012 as a young man, and at just 20 years old and after three goals in national colours he found himself at a World Cup in 2014.
Was he ready? Certainly not. Yet the experience and subsequent hardships will have stoked a fire in him and helped shape the aggressive and reinvigorated player that we see today.
I predicted a 20 goal-plus season for Taggart. With 22 matches remaining and just 15 goals needed, I’m fairly confident that my man will get there comfortably and in style.