After more than a decade in the Hyundai A-League, Nikolai Topor-Stanley is showing no signs of slowing down. Already this season he has played every minute of every match in a defensive line-up that has proven to be one of the most miserly in the competition.
There is no doubt Topor-Stanley is one of the greatest defenders in A-League history, his longevity in the competition is testament to that.
So, it comes as no surprise that when the towering defender runs out against Sydney FC tonight he will rack up the incredible achievement of 250 matches in the A-League.
Only three players have achieved the feat before the Jets centre-back; Danny Vukovic (278), Eugene Galekovic (261), and former Championship-winning Jet, Andrew Durante (272) who now plies his trade in Wellington.
Topor-Stanley grew up in Canberra, where he played the majority of his youth football. He spent time in the AIS ranks before making the move to Sydney as he chased the dream of professional football.
At the age of 21, he began his A-League career in the sky blue of Sydney FC and played 14 matches in his debut season.
His stocks rose considerably during an impressive season in the big smoke, and soon Topor-Stanley was heading west to continue his rise at Perth Glory.
In just his first season in Perth, he was awarded the Glory’s player of the season, an award he would win three years later during his first stint with the Jets.
The towering defender was a fan favourite during his three-year spell in the Hunter, before a turnover in personnel at the club resulted in Topor-Stanley joining the newly formed Western Sydney Wanderers.
He quickly entrenched himself in the Wanderers juggernaut, and was rewarded with a place in the A-League All Stars side in 2013, who took on the might of Manchester United and Juventus.
However, the best was still to come for Topor-Stanley who in 2014 skippered the Wanderers to their ACL triumph against Saudi giants Al-Hilal, before being awarded Player of the Year for the third time in his career at the end of the 2014/15 season.
A move to the UAE in late 2016 soon followed, where he played for Hatta Club, before joining Ernie Merrick’s revamped Newcastle squad before the start the season.
His combination with Nigel Boogaard has proven to be one of the strongest in the league, with the Jets currently owning the second best defensive record for the 2017/18 season.
In the absence of Boogaard for this milestone match, Topor-Stanley will also take the captain’s armband for the clash with Sydney.
By the numbers:
Fourth Most Matches in A-League History – 250
Newcastle Jets Player of the Year – 2010/11
A-League All Star Side – 2013
AFC Asian Champions League Winner – 2014