Hat-trick: Babalj stakes a claim for first-team action

Two-time Socceroos striker Eli Babalj has reminded the AZ Alkmaar coach of his quality with a hat-trick overnight. 

Babalj put in a classy shift for the club's reserves, Jong AZ, in a 4-0 triumph over Jong Sparta Rotterdam.

He hasn’t made one first-team appearance for AZ this season despite being injury free, although he has been on the bench on a number of occasions.

The 22-year-old ex-Melbourne Heart man missed six months of last season following a sports hernia operation on his right side and an adductor release in September last year.

Babalj, who told FourFourTwo he only took three days off during the international break, did his first-team chances no harm with a lively performance on Tuesday night.

The Sarajevo-born Australian forward opened the scoring inside the first minute and made it a double on the half hour mark.

Babalj spurned two second-half chances before completing his hat-trick on 73 minutes.

AZ are next in action on Saturday against Vitesse in the Eredivisie. The Dutch outfit have six matches prior to the winter break, for Babalj to press his case for selection.