Lee Gaskin June 30, 2012
Canberra product Nikolai Topor-Stanley has joined the Western Sydney Wanderers. Photo: Simone De Peak
A chance to learn from former Socceroo Tony Popovic was too good for Nikolai Topor-Stanley to ignore.
The Canberra product has put his messy exit from the Newcastle Jets behind him and will today be announced as one of four additions to Popovic's inaugural Western Sydney Wanderers squad.
The Canberra Times understands the other three will be Sydney FC trio Mark Bridge, Shannon Cole and Michael Beauchamp.
Topor-Stanley spent the past three A-League seasons with the Jets but was last week released as part of the club's overhaul to its playing roster.
The 27-year-old has also had stints with Sydney FC and Perth Glory and established himself as one of the country's premier left-sided central defenders.
But after a season which he admitted was a combination of ''shocking and good'' performances, he is eager to work side by side with rookie coach Popovic, who was capped more than 50 times by the Socceroos.
''The main drawcard for me was that Tony Popovic is at the helm,'' Topor-Stanley said.
''He's my exact position where I play, left centre back, so I hope to learn a lot of things from someone who's played over 50 times for Australia and had an outstanding career abroad.''
Topor-Stanley has moved on from a tumultuous final 12 months in Newcastle.
Coach Branko Culina was fired mid-season, the contract of his son Jason was set aside because of injury and owner Nathan Tinkler handed in the club's licence, before eventually taking it back.
''It wasn't one of my best, I'll admit that, it was quite inconsistent,'' Topor-Stanley said.
''I played some shocking games and I played some good games.
''As a defender especially, I pride myself on having that consistency, and hopefully I can achieve that under Tony.''
Topor-Stanley believes the Wanderers can defy the doubters and be competitive from the outset.
''We've got a long way to go before we're a polished product but we're not comfortable making up the numbers,'' he said.
''I play a game to win.''