Livewire striker Andrew Nabbout's sensational start to his Newcastle Jets career has not surprised a former teammate as Mark Jones' men chase a spot in the Hyundai A-League top six when they meet Adelaide United on Friday night at McDonald Jones Stadium.
In a rollercoaster 2016/17 Season so far, Nabbout has been a shining light winning three man-of-the-match awards from just seven appearances for the Hunter club.
The 23-year-old has scored one goal – a cracking finish against Melbourne City – and provided three assists for the seventh-placed Jets.
Blessed with speed and power and boundless energy, Nabbout is now starting to fulfil his potential and is benefitting from consistent game time in the Hunter.
His return from injury last week underlined his importance to the club's chances of making the six this season.
Nabbout burst onto the scene at Melbourne Victory in 2012, coming through as a teenager under Ange Postecoglou.
In one of his first appearances for Victory in the Hyundai A-League, he famously came off the bench against Sydney FC and scored twice as Victory came from two goals down to win 3-2.
He was the toast of the Big V. It was a breakout performance which underlined the striker's talent and announced himself to the rest of the competition.
But he was unable to cement his spot in Victory’s first-team once Kevin Muscat took over from Caltex Socceroo-bound boss in late 2013.
Nabbout played just 36 games for Victory over three years before opting to move to the Malaysian Premier League with Negeri Sembilan.
He was one of four ex-Hyundai A-League players to join the club – along with Taylor Regan, Joel Chianese and Alex Smith – while Aussie Gary Phillips was the coach.
Despite scoring nine goals in 14 games, Nabbout parted ways, somewhat surprisingly, with the Malaysian Premier League outfit. But the Jets were the ones to profit, the exit bringing him back to the Hyundai A-League with added football experience under his belt.
Nabbout also felt he had a point to prove on his return to Australia and he’s done just that, showing himself to be a more mature and consistent player.
His exceptional performances have come as no surprise to ex-Negeri team-mate Smith, who always believed Nabbout had the attributes to cut it in the Hyundai A-League.
“He is always an outlet in any team. Raw pace and power and it's great to have someone like that in any team, it releases pressure on everyone else,” Smith told www.a-league.com.au.
“I've heard he's doing really well and I'm really happy for him after what happened to him here in Malaysia.
“If he keeps his head on his shoulders and keeps his hard working attitude who knows? He is very resilient which you need in football.
“After his Malaysia experience I’m not sure if he wants to go overseas again. But he's perfect for the A-League, pace and power are key in the A-League.”
Nabbout’s pace and power will be vital again in Harvey Norman Friday night football as the Jets look to build on last weekend’s drought-breaking 2-1 win over Perth Glory by beating the struggling Reds.A win at McDonald Jones Stadium would see the Jets leapfrog Western Sydney into the top six for at least 24 hours, with the Wanderers playing Wellington on Saturday.