Millar’s praise for Jets ironman Topor-Stanley on eve of 300th game
Matthew Millar has hailed the relentless professionalism and leadership of Nikolai Topor-Stanley as the Newcastle Jets ironman gets set to play his 300th Hyundai A-League game on Sunday.
Topor-Stanley will become just the third player to enter the elite 300-club when the Jets host Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The 34-year-old will join Andrew Durante (322) and Leigh Broxham (301) as the only players to reach the triple-century mark so far.
It’s a fantastic achievement from the durable Topor-Stanley, who hasn’t missed a game since re-joining the Jets in 2017.
“I’ve learned a lot from him and he’s a great example, he just shows what you get when you put the hard work in, you get the results,” Millar told a-league.com.au of Topor-Stanley.
“He’s a great leader – and I’m not just saying that – but he can also have a laugh with the boys so he can balance it really well.
“He joins in with all the banter but when it comes down to seriousness he can flick the switch and lead by example.
“What he does everyone just follows. He’s massive for the club and it will be great to see him play his 300th game on the weekend.”
Canberra-born Topor-Stanley started his Hyundai A-League career with Sydney FC in 2006/07, before stints with Perth Glory, Western Sydney Wanderers and two spells at the Jets either side of a brief time in the UAE at Hatta Sports Club.
He played four times for the Caltex Socceroos, as well as captaining the Wanderers side that won the AFC Champions League in 2014.
In a testament to Topor-Stanley’s desire and longevity, he is performing as strong as ever in his 13th full season in the Hyundai A-League.
“He just seems to get up every weekend. You look at the performances he’s having now to this day still it’s quite incredible how well he’s doing,” Millar said.
“It’s a lot of the stuff he does behind the scenes that no one will really see. He does his gym in the morning, he does his recovery and preparation for games and training.
“It’s no surprise he’s into his third year not missing a game…if you see all the work he puts in, that’s where his success comes from.”
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Millar might be at the opposite end of his career to Topor-Stanley but his journey is quite unique.
The all-action right-back is the fourth oldest of 10 siblings, with two sisters and seven brothers.
Luckily for Millar, his entire family are football mad, meaning it was almost inevitable he would eventually crack it as a professional.
“It was great, it’s hard to explain to other people but there was always five or six people out in the backyard constantly playing ball games and running around crazily,” Millar explained.
“The whole family are footballers, even my sisters played so we are quite a football crazy family.
“It was a great childhood, credit to my mum and dad who were massive in raising such a tight-knit family.
“We’re all really close now so it’s nice when we go back to play Melbourne.”
“I’m really close to my family, they were massive in making me who I am today.”
And that’s one of the most consistent and destructive right-backs in the competition.
Millar, who moved up the F3 from Central Coast Mariners in the off-season, has started all seven games in 2019/20, scoring two goals and providing one assist.
“That was a big thing for me to come to Newcastle because of the way Ernie likes to get the full-backs really attacking,” Millar said.
“I think it was half time at the Perth game I actually got in trouble for being too defensive and not going forward enough which is good to have a coach that really backs you to get forward.
“The team can cover and it’s a really attacking and exciting way to watch a team play.
“I think football looks like it’s shifting more towards having attacking full-backs that really contribute.
“I think it’s quite handy when you have full-backs who can overload other teams defences, it’s a real weapon teams can have and we are definitely using it with me and Johnny [Koutroumbis].”
Sunday, December 15 2019
Kick-off: 6.30pm AEDT
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
Follow: The official match centre