A second goal in the Hyundai A-League marked a successful start for Angus Thurgate in the Round 6 win over Western United.
In his second start of the season, Thurgate played a one-two with Dimi Petratos and burst through the defence and slotted past Filip Kurto for the game’s only goal.
The chance for a start came thanks to a combination of injury to boys in the front third and three players away on international duty, and it was one which the Port Macquarie product took with both hands.
His starting position was a slightly different one to what Jets fans have become accustomed to.
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Thurgate was deployed in what was essentially a ‘false nine’ role, allowing him to lead the line from a slightly deeper position – a tactic which helped Newcastle open the scoring.
“It was good, it was a bit of a different position for me and I was fortunate enough to get in the right position,” Thurgate said.
“Dimi played the perfect ball and I was happy to get my opportunity and take it.
“Ernie said, all week during training that he had belief in me that I could do a job there and it was a new position for me, coming deeper and I really enjoyed it.
“I trained there a few times during the week so I was really keen to get into it and I really enjoyed it.”
With Abdiel Arroyo and Matt Ridenton back in the fold this week having returned from their overseas sojourns, there will be increased competition for spots.
It means that despite the goal and an 80-minute stint in Geelong, Thurgate is no guarantee to resume his spot in the starting XI.
The challenge to keep pushing for a spot in that line-up is something that seems to be motivating the youngster.
“Squad depth was a little thin last week, but those boys are coming back and hopefully they’re ready to get into it again,” Thurgate said.
“Again, I’ll leave [any changes] up to Ernie, he might keep Western Sydney guessing.
“All we can do is make sure that whoever is picked can come in and get three points for the team.”