Nikolai Topor-Stanley says Canberra deserves A-League action

Newcastle Jets’ veteran Nikolai Topor-Stanley has echoed the sentiments of his chief executive Lawrie McKinna and says Canberra soccer fans deserve more A-League action.

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Topor-Stanley was raised in the capital and was spotted playing for Canberra Olympic before carving out a decorated career in the A-League and overseas.

The 32-year-old faced his former club when Olympic hosted Newcastle in a friendly on Wednesday and Topor-Stanley said it’s important A-League teams play outside the major cities.

“It’s good to play local teams and in front of a potential new fanbase even know it’s a bit of a distance away, but it’s always good to get out of the metro areas and play,” Topor-Stanley said.

The Central Coast Mariners played two games in the capital last season but Canberra has been left off the A-League calendar next season.

McKinna said he’s interested in bringing A-League action back to the capital and former Socceroo Topor-Stanley is keen to return with the Jets for a regular season fixture.

“Yeah for sure. It’s always good to play in front of regions that don’t get A-League games regularly and obviously this being where I grew up it’s an added bonus, so I’m all for it,” Topor-Stanley said.

The Jets thrashed Olympic 5-0 at Deakin Stadium but Topor-Stanley said the scoreline didn’t reflect the quality they faced and praised his former club’s game plan.

“I thought they were good with some decent little players out there, their number 10 [Stephen Domenici] caused us a few problems, he was tricky,” Topor-Stanley said.

“Their back line was playing a very high line but they got it right and caught our players offside a fair few times. We were trying to break it but they were pretty brave which you don’t really see too often.

“Physically we’re at a higher level collectively which gives us a big advantage because it’s a team game… and technically there’s maybe a little difference but I don’t think it’s that big.

“I’ve played against big teams and big players in Europe and yeah they’re better but the difference is not huge individually, it’s collectively where the difference comes through.”

The Jets have struggled in recent years, picking up two of the past three wooden spoons and have not played finals since 2010, but Topor-Stanley said they’ll challenge this season if they can produce that collective effort consistently.

“It’s a hard one, you never really know how you’re going to go until the season starts, it’s a bit of a cliche but you have to keep working hard every day and keep sacrificing as a unit,” Topor-Stanley said.

“It’s a throw away line because everyone thinks they work hard, but I’ve been in teams that collectively are at a different level and if you all do that together then you’re a big chance.”

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