NTS: An unsung hero

Imposing centre back Nikolai Topor-Stanley spends time with www.newcastlejets.com.au ahead of this Sunday's blockbuster against NSW rivals Sydney FC.

One of the unsung heroes of the Newcastle Jets- surge up the Hyundai A-League ladder this season has been centre back Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

And while the 24-year-old former Sydney FC and Perth Glory defender has received few plaudits for his part in the Jets- progress, 23 appearances from a possible 23 games this campaign renders the man known to the fans simply as ‘Topor- as an integral cog in coach Branko Culina-s plans.

Chatting with NewcastleJets.com.au in the lead up to this Sunday-s clash against one of his former employers, Topor-Stanley said experienced heads within the Jets camp have helped him hone his talents as he looks to help the club climb higher up the table, and further his career.

“Ljubo brings a lot of experience at the back and same with Ange Costanzo,” Topor-Stanley said. “I-ve learnt a lot from them in terms of positioning and playing out from the back.”

“You-re only in the game for a short period of time and I-d be lying to say that I didn-t want to test myself against bigger and better players.

[But] at the moment I-m still with the Jets and I-m happy playing here. We-re winning games so I-m happy,” he said.

Topor-Stanley also spoke fondly of his time traversing the globe with the Beijing 2008 Olyroos side that ultimately journeyed to the Chinese capital.

Gaining exposure to football of a European, African and South American flavour as the Australian U23s took on Serbia, Ivory Coast and Argentina in the group stage, Topor-Stanley said that while the Olyroos- early exit was a disappointment, the experience proved priceless for his professional development.

“We didn-t do too well once we got there but three years preparation was a really big learning curve for me,” he said. “I got a lot of match experience and exposure to other types of football which helped me.”

And while the imposing defender-s prowess to prevent goals rather than create or score them is what he-s has built a career upon, Topor-Stanley joked when quizzed when he thought he would net his first Hyundai A-League goal heading into his 75th appearance.

“I scored against Sydney last year but they didn-t give it to me!” he laughed. “They gave it to me on the team sheet so I-m claiming it.”

“All the commentators are killing me saying I haven-t scored a goal yet, [but] I-m on one and I-m sticking to it!”

While Topor-Stanley will perhaps urge Fox Sports pundits to review their tapes before citing his absence of goals again, Jets fans will just be hoping the big ball winner can aid the home sides ambitions to come up trumps against the Sky Blues this Sunday.

To secure your seats to see if Nikolai Topor-Stanley can help the Jets claim three points against his former club at EnergyAustralia Stadium this weekend, call ProTicket on (02) 4915 2345 or book online at www.proticket.com.au.