Jets not satisfied with Semi-Final showing: Topor-Stanley
Newcastle's return to Hyundai A-League finals football might seem like a fairy-tale to many, but one of the Jets' most experienced players insists they deserve to be on the cusp of the Grand Final.
The Hunter Valley side have enjoyed a record-breaking season, setting up a home semi-final in front of what could be a record crowd at McDonald Jones Stadium tonight.
Ahead of the do-or-die clash against Melbourne City, veteran defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley has paid due respect to their opponents while emphatically underlining the credentials of his own side.
“They're a good team, that's why they're in the semi-final,” Topor-Stanley told media on the eve of the mouth-watering clash.
“They've got the potential to hurt anybody on their day, but so do we.
“We've scored a great number of goals.
“There's a reason why we finished second and why we've got the home semi-final, because over the year we've been more consistent.
“It's a testament to the team's hard work.
“I'm proud of these boys.
“We've put ourselves in a position to be successful but we're not just happy to be here and make up the numbers.
“We want to go one step further,” he said.
While Topor-Stanley is the veteran of several Hyundai A-League finals series during his previous ten seasons in the competition, some of his team-mates are experiencing knock-out football for the first time.
But the no-nonsense defender won't feel any need to put an arm around their shoulders and pass on any specific advice ahead of the biggest game of their young careers.
“There are plenty of leaders in this team and I prefer to lead through my actions,” said Topor-Stanley.
“I think that's got me to where I am today.
“But this is a good occasion for them, it's a good learning curve.
“It's what we prepare all season for to be in these finals games, so I'm really excited for them and I'm sure they won't be overawed.”
A win tonight would ensure a fourth Grand Final appearance for Topor-Stanley, having been part of the Western Sydney Wanderers sides that contested three finals during his four years at the club.
And after being on the losing side on all three occasions, he admits there's a sense of unfinished business.
“You could say that, but I'm not getting ahead of myself either,” he said.
“I wouldn't be as arrogant to do that.”