Perth Glory star ready for ‘once in a lifetime’ Socceroos opportunity 8 years in the making

Eight years ago, the Subway Socceroos played Iraq in Perth on the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying trail.

The Australian men’s national team hasn’t played in Perth since that night in 2016, but the eight-year drought is set to come to an end on Tuesday night.

For Perth Glory and Socceroos striker Adam Taggart, the occasion has been a long time coming.

Born and raised in Perth, Taggart was in the stands watching as a fan when the Socceroos beat Iraq in Perth eight years ago. This time around, he’s in the squad to take on Palestine, and should he receive match minutes in Tuesday’s 2024 World Cup qualifier, it will be the first national team appearance of his career in his hometown.

“It’s obviously amazing for me,” Taggart said.

“I’ve never played for the national team in front of my friends and family, so this will be the first time, it’s something that as a young Perth boy you’d always dream of.

“Games in Perth don’t come around too often, so it’s almost a bit of a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Really looking forward to it, especially the last time I was sitting in the stands watching them when they played here. I’m definitely looking forward to being on the field this time.”

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Taggart made his international debut in 2012 and has since received 19 ‘A’ Socceroos caps.

The last of his 19 national team appearances came in Australia’s 2-0 win over Bangladesh in the first of two World Cup qualifiers in the current international window, and followed a stellar season at club level where Taggart bagged 20 goals for Perth Glory in the Isuzu UTE A-League to win the competition’s Golden Boot.

Taggart says the Socceroos’ current attacking approach with two strikers suits his game, and he’ll relish the opportunity to feature up front against Palestine whether he plays from the start or comes off the bench.

“I love playing two up top, it’s my preferred way of playing,” he said.

“I think coming into camp and knowing that’s the way we have been playing is always a positive for me. It’s always enjoyable to link up with another striker, but it’s not easy and I guess that’s one of the challenges coming into camp.

“You’ve got to find that combination with the other strikers pretty quickly, game time and doing it in competitive matches is always something that’s going to help that.

“I’m looking forward to creating more of a partnership over the next few days and into the game against Palestine, to keep pushing for that improvement in the front third.”

Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier in Perth is not just a special opportunity for local Taggart, but for the city as a whole as the national team pays tribute to fellow Perth product and Australian youth international Dylan Tombides who lost his life to testicular cancer in 2014, just one month after his 20th birthday.

Following Tombides’ tragic passing, his family founded DT38 to raise awareness for testicular cancer; Football Australia has partnered with DT38 for Tuesday night’s game at HBF Park.

Read more about DT38 here

Taggart took part in one Australian youth international camp alongside Tombides prior to his passing, and says his memories of “a great, humble guy” remain with him to this day.

“I was lucky enough to be in a camp with him once, I could see what a great human he is and what a fantastic talent he was as well,” Taggart said.

“I’m looking forward to us representing him out here on Tuesday, all of the Perth community (is) behind him and his family and DT38. It’s massive for Perth as a city.”

“Just a great, humble guy. Obviously a massive talent and I could see that in the short time I had with him,” he added.

“I think looking back I’m grateful to have shared that camp with him. You could just see how positive he was, and what he was bringing to the team. I think we all sort of bounced off him and took on that energy that he had. It was a fantastic experience for me and all the other boys to have shared that with him.

“I think he’s just an inspiration, to put it quite simply. To come into camp under those circumstances with such a positive outlook, and still perform so well on the field as well, I think for all of us it’s an inspiration we can take through our lives and just appreciate that time we had, just to see what an inspiring person he was.”

The Socceroos are currently top of Group I in World Cup qualifying, having won all five of their group games without conceding a goal. They take on second-placed Palestine in Perth looking to keep the perfect record rolling.


Subway Socceroos v Palestine
Tuesday, June 11 2024
HBF Park
Kick-off: 8.10pm (local) – 10.10pm AEST