Port Macquarie's Angus Thurgate signs scholarship with Newcastle Jets

Steady progression: Angus Thurgate will be around the Jets for another 12 months after signing a scholarship contract. Photo: Sproule Sports Focus
Steady progression: Angus Thurgate will be around the Jets for another 12 months after signing a scholarship contract. Photo: Sproule Sports Focus

IT was a comment from Fox Sports commentator Andy Harper about one piece of play that would have had the Newcastle Jets hierarchy smiling.

Angus Thurgate’s searching 20-metre ground pass from the right hand side of the field across face of the goal to the far post had found Riley McGree.

As the Jets clung to a 1-0 lead in Brisbane, it was an impressive save from Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young that prevented Thurgate from recording a goal assist.

That one passage of play highlighted the talent the Port Saints junior possessed.

With the contribution he has already made to the first team, he deserves to be getting paid.

Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna on Angus Thurgate's scholarship

A few days earlier, he had signed a scholarship contract with the Hyundai A-League club.

Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna was one who felt it was important to keep the youngster in the Hunter.

“Andy Harper gave Gus a special mention on the coverage that some of the superstars of football have stuffed up that pass and he laid it on a plate,” McKinna said.

“It was just another fine save.”

McKinna said the teenager deserved the rewards for his hard work.

With the contribution he has already made to the first team, he deserves to be getting paid and we think he’s got a future here,” he said.

“He got a scholarship cos he deserved it and Ernie loves the fact he can play anywhere.”

It means Thurgate’s progression from National Youth League player to being a regular member of the first grade squad continues.

The teenager knows the final step is to become a permanent fixture of Ernie Merrick’s starting 11.

“It’s (the scholarship) an opportunity to stay in and around the first team for another season,” Thurgate said.

It’s my first professional contract I’ve signed, so I guess you could say I’m moving towards a dream of becoming a consistent A-League player.

Angus Thurgate

“It’s my first professional contract I’ve signed, so I guess you could say I’m moving towards a dream of becoming a consistent A-League player.

The Port Macquarie teenager will have the added responsibility over the next 12 months of juggling something other than a football as he continues his final year of schooling.

He will have the added bonus of utilising father Brett’s contacts in the education system.

“I’ll be doing all my schooling from home now so I can get home from training and get straight into it,” he said.

“Mum and dad and I have sat down and established at this point in time football is most important for me.

“Not taking anything away from school, but it is coming second at the moment and the hardest thing for me will be keeping self-motivated.”

Thurgate wants to continue to repay the faith shown by the Jets.

“It tells you you’re doing something right and makes you want to work harder and become a better player to get more opportunities,” he said.

“I’d like to stay at the Jets for as long as possible because I’m enjoying it, but we’ll see what happens down the track.”

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