NTS: A tower of strength
Nikolai Topor-Stanley has told newcastlejets.com.au only a second monumental performance in the space of a fortnight will do if the team is to keep their Championship dream alive when they face Wellington Phoenix this Sunday.
Towering centre-back Nikolai Topor-Stanley has told newcastlejets.com.au only a second monumental performance in the space of a fortnight will do if the team is to keep their Championship dream alive when they face Wellington Phoenix this Sunday.
Speaking prior to the Jets- two-day break where Topor-Stanley planned to refresh himself before the clubs titanic Trans-Tasman test, the Beijing Olyroo said: “It-s going to take another monstrous effort from the boys but that-s what Finals football is all about.”
Like teammate Kaz Patafta last week, the player known to the fans simply as ‘Topor- indicated he favoured making the trip south to Wellington rather than West to his previous employers Perth in week two of the finals - but only just.
“It-s much of a muchness really, they are both really hard places to get results,” Topor-Stanley said.
“But we might have a slight advantage in Wellington because I don-t think we-ve really ever won in Perth.”
Indeed, while Topor-Stanley said the mini break given to the squad by mentor Branko Culina is a welcome one, he divulged he was keen to keep the ball rolling until the curtain finally falls on the Hunter clubs season.
The well travelled 189cm defensive linchpin has played almost three years of football without a break due to Hyundai A-League, Qantas Olyroo, Qantas Socceroo and AFC Champions League commitments, and while keen for an extended rest shortly, would sooner continue on to Grand Final day then finish up at the ‘Cake Tin-.
“I-d rather keep things ticking over, that-s the way I work,” he said.
“You always need a little break just to get away from football and take your mind off things, [but] the longer I have off the longer it takes me to get back in the swing of things.”
And despite his body undoubtedly overdue for a rest, Jets fans can be assured they-ve got a player who will put his hand up in even the most testing of circumstances.
A stand out in the penalty triumph over Gold Coast United just shy of a week ago, the big ball winner stepped forward for spot kick number six when few else were too keen to take on the burden.
Converting, he helped set the platform for Ben Kennedy-s heroic stop from Zenon Caravella that permitted the Jets' progression to the Phoenix playoff.
“I don-t think anyone was too confident in me taking a penalty.”
“My family all said ‘Oh no, here we go-, but I don-t think I could have done any worse than Song,” he joked.
“As long as you get them on target that-s the best you can do. I don-t think the boys would have been too upset with me so long as I put it on target.”
With Topor-Stanley and the Newcastle having already silenced Gold Coast fans during this years Semi-Final campaign, Topor-Stanley concluded with an insight as to how the Jets could potentially swing the pendulum in their favour in front of the large, partisan home crowd expected in Wellington.
“We-ll try to use it to our advantage,” he said.
“The longer we keep them scoreless the more they-ll get restless and hopefully they turn on their own players.”
“That-s what happens with football fans all over the world.”