VETERAN defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley is poised to reaffirm his reputation as one of the A-League's true ironmen by completing his third full season with the Newcastle Jets - every minute of every game.
With two fixtures remaining in Newcastle's campaign, Topor-Stanley is the only Jet who has been on the pitch from kick-off until full-time in all 24 of their games so far.
Last season he was ever-present in their 27 games, as he was in Newcastle's 29-game grand final crusade of 2017-18.
Indeed, his marathon run in the A-League stretches back to his final season with Western Sydney, 2015-16, when he missed the 3-2 loss to Brisbane in round 22 through a one-game suspension incurred because of yellow-card accumulation.
That amounts to a staggering 130 hours of uninterrupted game time for the towering 35-year-old, who ranks second on the all-time A-League list for most games with 316 appearances for Perth Glory, Sydney FC, Wanderers and Newcastle.
Only Western United's Andrew Durante (334) has played in more A-League games.
Jets coach Carl Robinson has indicated he plans to rotate his squad to provide fringe players with opportunities in Newcastle's final two outings, against Western United at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday and against Wellington at Kogarah on August 13.
But Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna said he expected Topor-Stanley to take his place in the starting line-up.
"You don't rest him," McKinna said.
"He's just a machine. He just goes on and on and on. He's like the Duracell bunny.
"He's one of the quickest in the squad, he's one of the most consistent, he never misses a training session and he's just a total pro."
Topor-Stanley said in an interview with the Newcastle Herald last year: "I'll put my hand up for every game. That's the way I've always been. Regardless of our position, I want to play."
Meanwhile, McKinna is hoping for a crowd approaching 4000 on Sunday, which would be the largest at any game since social-distancing restrictions were enforced after the coronavirus shutdown.
Some games since the resumption have been played behind closed doors, while others have had fewer than 2500 spectators in attendance.
"We've allocated 3200 tickets to our members, and there will still be some general-admission tickets available through Ticketmaster," McKinna said.
General-admission tickets are available from Friday but must be purchased online.
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