Striking similarity between Jets frontmen

HE has a mop of blonde hair, poster-boy looks, plays at the point or on the wing and is all power and pace.

Sound familiar?

No, it’s not Joel Griffiths.

But Jets fans could be forgiven for mistaking Perth Glory recruit Adam Taggart for the former golden boy and Johnny Warren Medal winner.

They could pass as brothers. In fact, Taggart looks more like Joel than twin brother Adam and younger sibling and Jets teammate Ryan.

But that is not where the similarities end.

Both boast explosive speed, are powerful finishers and have that all-important predator instinct.

Of course, Taggart is only starting his A-League career and has a long way to go to match the feats of Griffiths, who after leading the Jets to the 2007-08 championship was rated second only to rugby league great Andrew Johns in the popularity stakes in the Hunter.

Jets assistant coach Craig Deans was reluctant to make comparisons at this stage of Taggart’s career.

‘‘You don’t want to put that type of pressure on a kid,’’ he said. But Deans admitted they did share similar traits.

‘‘For a 19-year-old kid he has all the attributes to be a good striker,’’ he said.

‘‘He is quick, he can finish, he gets into good areas, he is positive, he makes good forward runs ... there are elements of Joel in that, but it is only early days.’’

Born and bred in Perth, Taggart holds the record as the youngest player to make his A-League debut for Perth, aged 17 years and 229 days, and is the club’s youngest goal scorer.

He made 10 appearances in two seasons at the Glory.

But with prolific Kiwi Shane Smeltz and the experienced Billy Mehmet in front of him, Taggart decided to reunite with former AIS coach Gary van Egmond at the Jets.

Van Egmond was also integral in getting Griffiths to Newcastle United for the final two seasons of the old National Soccer League.

Griffiths then spent three years in Europe before returning to Newcastle for the 2006-07 A-League season and teaming up with van Egmond again.

Taggart announced his arrival in Newcastle with a brace before being replaced after 25 minutes with a groin strain in the Jets’ 3-1 win over Broadmeadow Magic in the opening pre-season trial.

The injury forced him out of the Australian under-20s side for a tournament in Indonesia and the Jets’ 9-1 thrashing of Canberra.

He returned off the bench against Northern NSW select and scored a second brace to complete a 6-0 victory.

He was again used as a second-half substitute and went close to scoring an equaliser for the first XI in the 2-1 loss to the youth team a week ago. Back to full fitness, the tearaway forward is expected to start when the first XI and youth team go head to head again at Ray Watt Oval today at 10am.

Barring injury Ryan Griffiths, last season’s equal leading goal scorer with nine, is assured a place in the Jets three-man strike force.

Another is expected to be filled by an as-yet unsigned import, leaving Taggart vying with Michael Bridges, James Brown, James Virgili and Marko Jesic for the other.

‘‘His timing and instincts are good,’’ Deans said.

‘‘It is nice to have people like that to work with. He wants to get better and works hard to get better.

‘‘He is one who hopefully at some point in the season really puts his hand up.’’

● The Jets trial against Northern NSW next Wednesday has been moved to Adamstown Oval due to issues with the lights at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

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