NIKOLAI Topor-Stanley knew changes were needed at the Newcastle Jets - he just didn't think he would be among them.
Topor-Stanley had played every minute of every game in the past four seasons for the Jets and was lauded in June as the club's player of the year.
However, after a disappointing season in which the Jets only just avoided the wooden spoon, new coach Arthur Papas has overhauled the roster.
Fringe Socceroos defender Matt Jurman, Adelaide enforcer Jordan Elsey and promising teenager Riley Warland have come in, leaving no room for Topor-Stanley.
The Jets announced on Monday that Topor-Stanley would not be resigned and he is now expected to join Western United.
"I would be lying if I said it didn't hurt," Topor-Stanley said of his departure from the Jets. "I pictured myself finishing my career at Newcastle. This is the life you live as a footballer. At times it can be cut throat. That is the nature of the business, especially when results don't go your way.
"Changes needed to happen - I don't disagree with that. I don't agree that it needed to be me. That is the decision the club has made. I'm not going to dwell on that fact."
Topor-Stanley, who holds the record for most consecutive A-League games with a club at 108, said he had spoken to Papas.
"I'm not going to lay the blame on anyone or dwell on the negatives," he said. "I respect the fact that changes needed to happen. These things happen in football. It is just another challenge to face."
Western United are also undergoing major changes under new boss, John Aloisi.
Defenders Brendan Hamill (Victory), Tomislav Uskok (Macarthur), Aaron Calver (Glory) and Andrew Durante (retired) are among a host of exits.
As well as Topor-Stanley, keeper Jamie Young, Olyroo Nick D'Agostino and teenage striker Noah Botic have been linked to the Melbourne club.
"I believe that I have plenty left to offer the game," Topor-Stanley said. Physically I am in good shape and and, more importantly, mentally I still have the fire to compete and win titles."
Topor-Stanley, who will be 37 by the end of next season, has been "ticking over" since the end of last season.
"I was training with [NSW NPL club] Lambton Jaffas for a while to get on the ball again and be in a team environment," he said. "It was nice that they game me that opportunity."
Jurman, who spent 14 days in quarantine after returning from Greece where he played last season, trained with the Jets for the first time on Tuesday.
Former Western Sydney Wanderers Kosta Grozos is on a training contract with the Jets and talks are advanced with two foreigners.
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