JETS wonder boy Adam Taggart applied the finishing touches to a breakthrough A-League season on Monday night, adding the Young Player of the Year award to the Golden Boot.
Next for the 20-year-old striker is a place in the Socceroos preliminary squad for the World Cup followed by a contract overseas.
A fringe first-team player 12 months ago, Taggart seemingly has the world at his feet after claiming two of the major awards presented at a gala ceremony at Randwick Racecourse Ballroom on Monday night.
Roar import Thomas Broich created history by becoming the first player to win the Johnny Warren Medal, the players’ player award, for a second time.
The Roar dominated the awards. Mike Mulvey was named coach of the year and Tameka Butt claimed the Julie Dolan Medal as the W-League players’ player.
Taggart scored 16 goals, four clear of the next best, to win his first goal-scorers title and in the process set a new club record.
His haul of six goals in three games, including a hat-trick against the Melbourne Heart, earned the Perth-born attacker the November nomination for the Young Player of the Year.
Jets teammate Josh Brillante was among the other finalists which included Trent Sainsbury, Storm Roux, Dimitri Petratos and Terry Antonis.
Apart from an addition to an already bursting resume, Taggart received a $10,000 NAB personal investment portfolio.
’’It’s nice to get individual awards but it is normally a bonus on top of a successful season,’’ Taggart said.
’’It would have been a lot nicer had we made the finals and gone further than we had done in the past few years.’’
Taggart has a year to run on his contract at the Jets, but has made no secret of his desire for a move to Europe.
’’There have been lot of big conversations and we are getting to the nitty, gritty stuff,’’ he said.
’’It is getting closer and closer.
’’All those leagues are just finishing up, and that is when their real planning starts.
’’Hopefully I will know something in the next three or four weeks.
’’It would be good to ease my mind so I know what I’m doing - whether it is staying with the Jets or going overseas - but at the same time I am not in any rush.’’
Taggart has been linked to a move to Holland and on Monday confirmed that the Eredivisie was his preferred destination.
’’One of the main priorities for me is to be playing first-team football,’’ Taggart said.
’’I’m not expecting to go overseas and play straight away but you want to know that you will have an opportunity.
’’I have got used to the feeling of first-team football, playing week-in week-out and playing with the best players.
’’It would be so hard to go back and wait a long time.
’’Holland is a great destination. It is a real football country.
’’It is not the best league in the world but it is a good stepping stone going from Australia.
’’A lot of Australians have done well there. They seem to like Australians’ attitude and worth ethic. It would be a great place to go to.’’
The Jets wound up their season on Monday but Taggart, Brillante and keeper Mark Birighitti will continue training to ensure they are in good shape if named in a 30-man Socceroos squad on May 14.
’’I had a light week last week but am now back into it,’’ Taggart said.
’’If the opportunity comes to go into camp I want to be raring to go.
’’You can’t allow an opportunity like that to slip by.
’’You have to be doing everything you can. You never know who is going to get selected, and you never know what is going to happen with injuries.’’
The trio will work together as well as train with the Jets youth team.
’’We will do extras but it is not as beneficial if you are training by your self or in a group of three,’’ Taggart said.
’’With the youth team there is a team environment and you get game situations.’’
The Jets are scheduled to assemble for pre-season training in June.
Joel Griffiths, David Carney, Josh Mitchell, James Brown, Joey Gibbs and Nick Ward off contract at the end of next month
Griffiths and Carney have held preliminary talks with the club, but the remainder appear unlikely to be retained.