Newcastle Jets forward Andrew Nabbout says Melbourne City are a different team when Tim Cahill is on the park, and he revealed a secret talent the Caltex Socceroos superstar possesses.
On Saturday night, the Jets were on the receiving end of a City masterclass, with Cahill netting the opener in a 4-0 drubbing at AAMI Park.
The 37-year-old was making just his second start since the Jets beat City in Coffs Harbour back in January but it took Cahill just 12 minutes to find the back of the net with a trademark header.
CAHILL UNSTOPPABLE IN THE AIR
Speaking to Fox Sports, the Jets frontman conceded that although Tim Cahill’s aerial ability is well documented, opposition defences seem powerless to thwart him in the box.
“They said it a couple of weeks ago in a game against the Mariners. They said, ‘you know he’s going to be there and he’s going to head the ball so why can’t you stop him?’” noted Nabbout.
“He’s made a career out of it, so he’s just that good at it.
“Just his presence on the pitch you can tell automatically it lifts City and they’re a different team on the pitch.”
CAHILL'S ARABIC BANTER
While Cahill is renowned for his heading ability, the Lebanese heritage Nabbout went on to reveal something about City’s marquee few football fans would be aware of.
“He actually said a few things to me in Arabic, to be honest. I was a bit surprised. I was thrown back,” said Nabbout.
With City's owners hailing from Abu Dhabi, perhaps it's rubbing off on the well-travelled Cahill.
Still, Nabbout was pleasantly surprised the Aussie football great was able to pull out some Arabic on the pitch.
“I know he's been around the world but I seriously didn’t expect that to come out of his mouth. I was actually laughing.
“I’m sure he’s got plenty of other languages in his locker also but Arabic is definitely one that I didn’t expect.”
CITY'S 'SCARY' LINE-UP
As to whether City have now stamped themselves as genuine Championship contenders Nabbout was non-committal but didn’t dispute their potential to overrun sides.
“They’re not easy. Their team on paper is ridiculous
"And like you saw last night, when they gel, they’re on and it’s scary," he said.
The Jets next face Phoenix in Wellington. City - minus Cahill on international duty - head to Sydney to meet Wanderers this Friday night.