Jets trio to give all in pursuit of Cup dream

THE hard work has just begun.
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That is the attitude Jets Mark Birighitti, Adam Taggart and Josh Brillante have taken after they were named yesterday in a 30-man preliminary Socceroos squad for the World Cup in Brazil.

The Socceroos start a two-week camp in Terrigal today which culminates with a farewell game against South Africa at ANZ stadium on May 26.

Australia’s final 23-man squad for the 32-team showpiece has to be submitted to FIFA by June 2.

Selection for Brazil would be a dream come true.

‘‘To make it this far is fantastic,’’ Birighitti said.

‘‘I have been to a World Cup with the under 20s, but to go with a senior squad would be what dreams are made of.

‘‘It’s up to me to give it my best, and I’m sure the rewards will come.’’

Of the Jets, Birighitti, perhaps, faces the biggest task.

He is one of four keepers in contention alongside Matt Ryan, Mitch Langerak and his former Adelaide skipper Eugene Galekovic.

Three make the cut. The fourth travels to Brazil in case of injury but returns on the eve of the cup.

‘‘The hard work starts from now,’’ Birighitti said.

‘‘I can’t wait to get into camp and give it a real crack.

‘‘I’m determined to do the best I can to make sure I’m not one of those players who comes back. You never know with [coach] Ange [Postecoglou] what he has in the back of his mind.’’

Galekovic went to South Africa in 2010 as the No.3 but didn’t play, Ryan is fresh from an amazing maiden season at Club Brugge in Belgium, and Langerak is No.2 at Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund.

‘‘It is going to be tough, but it will be a good measure to see how I come against the boys playing overseas and Eugene,’’ Birighitti said.

‘‘At the last World Cup Eugene was the fourth keeper but unfortunately Brad Jones’s son got very sick and he withdrew from the squad. Eugene got his chance.

‘‘You never know what can happen. You have to be ready.’’

Taggart was rewarded for a breakthrough A-League campaign in which he scored 16 goals to claim the A-League Golden Boot and Young Player of the Year awards.

He is one of five strikers alongside regulars Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy and Matthew Leckie and the uncapped Ben Halloran.

Brillante is among 17 players with fewer than 10 caps.

The 21-year-old faces fierce competition in midfield but can also play right fullback.

He and Taggart were singled out by Postecoglou for outstanding A-League seasons.

‘‘I have been really impressed with some of the younger players, particularly the likes of Brillante and Taggart in the A-League. Ben Halloran has really come on in the last bit in Germany,’’ the coach said.

They were told of their selection during a camp in Adelaide last week but were sworn to secrecy.

‘‘Management made it clear that they wanted it to remain confidential until the squad was announced,’’ Birighitti said. ‘‘The hardest thing was keeping it from my parents. They were stoked when they found out today.’’