Taggart’s Tale


Combine Adam Taggart’s loving family with his humble grounding and it’s hard to see him ever getting a big head.

Adam Taggart is posing for photos. He’s relaxed and smiling.

Standing on the harbour’s edge, just a stone-s throw away from Jets HQ in Wickham, Taggart is lapping up the rock star treatment.

And deservedly so too.

On the back of a whirlwind week where he bagged a hat-trick against the Melbourne Heart to become the A-League’s leading goal scorer, the Jets striker has earned the extra attention.

As Taggart gets comfortable, the photographer extends the friendship and asks him to hold a football out in front of him with two hands.

“I-m not LeBron James,” Taggart jokes.

No, Taggart is certainly not in the LeBron category just yet . . . the Miami Heat NBA Basketball star who collects MVP’s for fun.

I mean, what footballer except for the goalkeeper holds a ball anyway?

Talk to the locals, though, and they-ll tell you Taggart is Newcastle-s equivalent to King James in the popularity stakes.

They’ll also tell you he is the new Joel Griffiths, the former Jets striker who lit up the Steel City back in the early 2000s with his goal scoring exploits.

The fact Taggart’s Wikipedia page was briefly changed to Adam ‘The Second coming of the Griff’ Taggart, backs up this popular belief.

For all the hype though, Taggart is just content on being his own man.

That’s not to say that he isn’t willing to learn off some of the world’s greatest athletes from across numerous sports, including our mates LeBron and Griffo.

“There are big people, big players and big influences throughout the world that you look up to,” he says.

“But at the same time, I guess I definitely have the goal of being my own man and doing something myself.

“So having my own style of play, my own personality and it-s not something that I want to mimic.

“It-s something where I want to take positive things off people who have been there and done great things.

“Griffiths for example is someone I’ve studied and to be compared to him is an honour.

“I think it’s important to understand certain things that you can take off people-s personalities, their playing attributes and their mental and emotional attributes.

“It-s all something that you need to pull together to understand who you are and what you want to be.”

When it comes to knowing who his true self, Taggart is certainly comfortable in his own skin.

He proudly talks about his upbringing in the Perth suburb of Joondalup, approximately half-an-hour north of the city.

“It-s pretty close to the coast, only five minutes from the beach,” he explains.

“So coming to Newcastle was nice and it wasn-t too much of a transition being used to the good weather and the beaches.

“In summer, I guess there isn-t much else to do but go to the beach and that-s mainly what we do in Newcastle.”

Taggart was also surrounded by football fanaticism as a kid.

Running around for local club, ECU Joondalup, he was exposed to a number of players who went on to achieve overseas in places like England.

This in turn inspired Taggart to chase his dreams too.

“Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough) just lived around the corner from me, Shane Lowry (Aston Villa, Leeds, Sheffield United) just lived around the corner and I-m good mates with all their little brothers,” he says.

“They are all my age, so we all kicked around together in our younger years and all played at the same club.

“Having people like that around you definitely helped, just seeing what they are doing and how they sort of started their career off.

“You know, people like Williams went overseas at a pretty young age and went through the youth systems over there.

“Myself, Mitch Oxborrow and even people like Scott Neville, you go through a different system.

“So we went through the AIS at a young age and then go to an A-League side and try and establish yourself there before you can go overseas.

“It-s nice to see now that there are a lot of different pathways and no matter where you are you can still get picked up.”

Taggart knows he couldn’t have reached these career heights without the support of his family.

He says his parents, in particular, have always been there for him and their guidance is greatly appreciated.

“My dad has a Scottish background,” he explains.

“He has always been football mad and probably someone I-ve taken my love of the sport off.

“My mum is a primary school teacher and she has got an Italian background.

“They are massive Jets supporters now.”

As is Taggart’s grandmother Pat, who has flown over from Perth on several occasions this season to catch her grandson in action.

“She is a lovely lady and absolutely loves the Jets,” he grins.

“She has got her jersey, she watches all games and she is already trying to plan as many trips as she can to get over here to watch them.

“She absolutely loved the experience when she was over here and really enjoyed the town.”

Combine Taggart’s loving family with his humble grounding and it’s hard to see him ever getting a big head, no matter how many headlines or photo shoots he attracts.

You see, the former Perth Glory striker is fully aware there is no ‘i’ in team.

“I think now after having a little bit of attention, at the same time you can-t take it away from the team,” he says.

“If I didn-t have the team, then I-m not going to be scoring those goals and that-s definitely something I respect.

“I-m thankful for all the support and help I-ve got from my teammates, my coach, the club and the fans.

“It-s definitely something that doesn-t just go through one ear and out the other.”

On the back of his amazing season thus far, Taggart admits he feels like a bit of Newcastle is in him.

It’s great news for Jets fans, especially after the 20-year-old extended his contract by one season during the week.

“I think the longer I-ve been here in Newcastle, I-ve started to feel like I-ve lived here my whole life,” he says.

“I-m extremely close with a lot of people over here now and the whole crowd I really understand what it is to play for Newcastle.

“You know, it-s a small town where they want to see the effort and the passion.

“We have people in our own squad, like Ruben Zadkovich and Scott Neville, who are just absolute workers.

“You can see the crowd really respect that and get behind those people.

“You know, that-s all I want to do.

“I have a real passion for the club now, that real will to win and really do something this season.”
“So I think for myself, I definitely understand what it means to be a Novocastrian.”

As Taggart now fully appreciates, few places know how to make a hero like Newcastle.