Veteran Jets defender reflects on Socceroos, ACL triumph and Berisha

As he approaches 250 games in the Hyundai A-League, Newcastle Jets defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley has opened up on his decorated domestic and international career. 

In a wide-ranging interview with www.a-league.com.au, Topor-Stanley reflects on his time in the A-League, representing Australia and becoming an Olympian. 

Debuting for Socceroos against Singapore in 2008

"I remember being lathered in sweat before we even took the field," Topor-Stanley said. 

"It was a pretty poor surface and it bucketed down as well and then it just stopped which made the humidity even worse.

"But it was a proud moment - my mother flew over, so it was great to have her there in the stands to watch me make my debut for the country.

"To be given the opportunity to wear the green and gold of your country was pretty awesome."

Nikolai Topor Stanley

 

Winning the Asian Champions League with Western Sydney Wanderers

"It's still pretty surreal, especially under the circumstances of the game and the club," he said.  

"I remember thinking it was a huge moment not just for our team and the people involved but for football fans Australia-wide.

"I can hold my head up and say I was part of it."

NTS

 

Competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

"At the time I didn't really appreciate it for what it was," he said. 

"I was 23 and finding my feet as a young adult in football.

"Obviously it was a great occasion, but I wanted to win and I was focusing on doing well for my country.

"I didn't have the best of first games and I got dropped which soured it a bit for me and it took me a while to get over that.

"But almost ten years on now I can look back and say I'm an Olympian."

Topor-Stanley

 

Toughest A-League opponents

"I'm going to have to say Sydney FC," Topor-Stanley said. 

"During my time at Wanderers, that derby was something that was pretty big.

"You really wanted to get one over them.

"And I always enjoyed competing with Melbourne Victory and against [Besart] Berisha as a player.

"I have the utmost respect for his ability but when you beat him, it feels nice.

"But I think he's beaten me more than I've beaten him unfortunately!"

NTS, Berisha