Jets 'laugh off' training bust-up

Newcastle Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich says Taylor Regan and Mark Birighitti have "laughed off" Monday’s training blue and insists the only feistiness from his side will be directed at Central Coast Mariners in Saturday’s vital F3 derby.

The seventh-placed Jets make the short journey down the F3 to face sixth-placed rivals Central Coast, who are one point ahead of them in the finals race, making this derby a vitally important one for both clubs.

The Jets have had an interesting build-up to the derby with Regan left bloodied after a training altercation with team-mate Birighitti on Monday.

In the aftermath of the incident, where Regan was photographed bleeding from his face, the club played down the spat.

Speaking to FourFourTwo ahead of the derby, Zadkovich insisted Regan and Birighitti had moved on and were now laughing about the incident.

“It was nothing, to be honest,” Zadkovich said. “I love how the photos from the media make it look like it was something but it wasn’t.

“It was literally two guys coming together face to face. There was a little head clash, but it was absolutely nothing.

“The boys have been laughing about it ever since.”

The pair are in contention to play in Saturday’s clash which Zadkovich admitted was pivotal for both clubs’ finals hopes with five rounds to play.

The Jets skipper also predicted some real derby “feistiness”, given their ladder positions.

“It makes the equation a lot easier if you get a win this weekend. It’s a pivotal match for us,” he said.

“There’s everything to play for, for both teams. It’ll make for a feisty and cagey game.”

The Jets have won three of their past four matches, with young striker Adam Taggart netting the winner in last week’s 1-0 triumph over Melbourne Heart.

Taggart’s strike made him outright leader in the A-League Golden Boot race with 11 goals, prompting coach Clayton Zane to back him for the Socceroos’ World Cup squad.

And Zadkovich was adamant that 20-year-old Taggart should be in the squad for Brazil, praising his attitude and labelling his game perfect for the international arena.

“One hundred percent he should be going to the World Cup,” Zadkovich said.

“He’s in great form and he’s been in good scoring form all season. He’s fantastic with his speed, pace and sharpness on the ball, he’s perfect for the international game.

“He’s got a real good head on his shoulders. You look at his age, if you’re trying to blood the next generation he stands out.

“He’s always working on his positioning, touch, back to play. It’s a good credit to him the way he’s worked and it’s been paying off for him.

“We always look to him for inspiration on the field and he’s been giving it to us.

“He should be going to the World Cup especially if he continues in the way he’s going.”

Zadkovich also backed interim Jets coach Zane to take the job permanently beyond this season.

The Newcastle captain said the former Socceroo had created a positive environment for the players to enjoy their football, breeding results.