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Fit Taggart primed to unleash on Sydney FC

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/04/2017 Justin Chadwick

Perth Glory striker Adam Taggart says he is in the best shape he's been in since 2014. © Robert Cianflone/Getty Images Perth Glory striker Adam Taggart says he is in the best shape he's been in since 2014. Perth Glory striker Adam Taggart says he is in the best shape he's been in since 2014 and hopes to inflict some pain on Sydney FC in Saturday's A-League semi-final.

Taggart seemingly had the world at his feet when he decided to try his luck overseas after winning the A-League's golden boot with Newcastle three years ago.

But injuries cruelled his chances of thriving in Europe, and he returned to Australia last year in a bid to rebuild his battered body.

Taggart's second stint at Glory didn't get off to the best of starts. A lingering calf injury sidelined him for five games earlier this season but his fitness has steadily improved, with the fringe Socceroo now full of confidence in what his body can produce.

Taggart has scored 12 goals in 23 appearances this season, forming a formidable partnership with fellow strike weapons Diego Castro (13 goals) and Andy Keogh (12).

The 23-year-old is keen to break back into the Socceroos squad in the near future, and he hopes a big finals series will help get him there.

"Going back 12 months ago, this is where I wanted to be - to get fit and get game time again," Taggart said.

"Apart from the hiccup at the start of the season, I've been in probably the best physical shape since I left Newcastle.

"It's a really positive time for me, and it's nice to share this finals experience with my home town and a lot of players I've grown up with.

"Anyone anywhere around the world wants to play in the big games.

"I feel like I'm always going to thrive when there's a bit more pressure. It's why you play football. If you can't handle that, then you probably shouldn't be in sport."

Glory will start as underdogs against a Sydney FC outfit that has lost only one league match all season.

Sydney have won all three games against Perth this season, scoring a total of 11 goals to two, but Glory coach Kenny Lowe said the previous encounters count for little.

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