New role key to Thurgate’s incredible rise to Jets’ match winner
Young gun Angus Thurgate admits he’s still coming to grips with the new role coach Ernie Merrick has him playing which has led to him being Newcastle Jets’ match-winning hero two games in a row.
A midfielder coming through the ranks at the Jets, Thurgate has been deployed in a ‘false nine’ role in his side’s last two matches.
He started and scored the only goal of the match in the 1-0 win over Western United FC in Round 6, before backing it up on the weekend against the Wanderers.
Thurgate, 19, came off the bench just after the hour-mark and scored the opening goal, before laying the match-sealer on a plate for Dimitri Petratos.
Asked about his purple-patch of form, Thurgate told a-league.com.au: “I’ve been playing in a bit of a different position up front as a false nine almost."
“I’m still getting used to that but I’ll play anywhere I can do a job for the team.
“Whether it be scoring or just working hard in defence, it’s what I’ll do and hopefully it will lead to a few more points.”
After deputising for Abdiel Arroyo – who was away on international duty - in the win over United in Round 6, Thurgate dropped back to the bench against the Wanderers.
But his match-winning cameo off the bench on Saturday night is certain to give Merrick a selection headache ahead of Sunday’s trip to Adelaide.
While he admitted it was tough to drop back to the bench after performing so well in his rare start against United, Thurgate isn’t one to kick stones.
“That’s football. We had a good striker in Arroyo come back from international duty. He went over and played for Panama so he’s got the right to come back and resume his spot in the starting XI,” the teenager who has earned the moniker ‘The Port Macquarie Pele’ said.
“All I can do is keep working hard and putting in some good performances.
“Ernie keeps telling me to keep working hard. He can see what I do at training so as long as I keep doing that and putting in good performances, it’s all I can really do.
“The likes of Dimi [Petratos], Arroyo, [Jason Hoffman] and [Nick Fitzgerald] are always passing on advice to us young ones.
“Whether you take it on or not is up to you but I definitely listened and tried and implement that into my game.”
Thurgate was adamant there was never any panic in the Jets squad after going the opening four games without a win, believing things have just “started to click” for the side in recent weeks.
It’s now only goal difference keeping the Jets out of the top six ahead of Sunday’s tricky trip to Adelaide United to face the Reds.
“I’m sure they will be hungry to get back to their winning ways [after losing to Wellington on Sunday],” Thurgate said of Adelaide.
“They have showed already this season they are a good side and they set up well.
“They beat us the first time we played them [2-1 in Round 3], so we’ll be looking to put in a good performance and take it to them on Sunday.
“The boys worked hard the last two games and we’ve done well to get two results. We’re on a roll now and hopefully we can keep it going.”