Jets defender Nikola Topor-Stanley has hit out at critics who “poo poo" the standard of the A-League, offering Riley McGree’s scorpion kick goal, Daniel Arzani and Joey Champness as examples of the league’s quality.
It’s the kick that has been seen around the world. Riley McGree's instinctual scorpion kick went viral before it nestled into the back of the net during the Jets' semi-final against Melbourne City last weekend.
In many fans and pundits eyes the A-League has been viewed as lacklustre this season, with average crowds in the stands and on TV screens down from previous campaigns.
But Newcastle veteran Topor-Stanley believes McGree’s once in a lifetime goal was a reminder of the A-League’s quality and won’t be surprised if his Jets teammate does something special in the Grand Final.
“I wouldn’t put it past him,” he told FourFourTwo
“He’s scored four goals in two games hasn’t he? He’s an incredible young talent who we’re lucky to have in the A League.
“That goal is a testament to him and the league. We have good players. People tend to poo poo the standard of the A League and that goal went viral because it was a great goal. It shows we have good talent here in Australia."
Joe Champness is another young talent who has lit up the league with his skill level and eye-catching attacking play, and Topor -Stanley also has big wraps on the teenager.
“He’s a livewire, he said. “He’s a talent that was discarded from Brisbane Roar not too long ago. Ernie has given him his chance and he has taken it to the full extent. We’re happy to have him in our squad.”
Topor Stanley also lauded full back Johnny Koutroumbis for being able to keep one of the rising stars of the A-League quiet during last weekend's semi-final against City, especially after only playing one game in 12 rounds.
“It’s testament to him,” he said of the 20-year-old. “It’s not easy to come into a team with not many minutes under your belt. “He did an incredible job on the weekend.
“He really stifled one of the best attacking talents that we have seen in Daniel Arzani and he did a really good job of not giving a sniff. I’m really happy for him.
After a tumultuous period surrounding issues with the game’s governance in recent times, FFA CEO David Gallop said he was happy the action in last weekend’s semi-final brought the focus to on field matters.
“The game has a tendency to come back and remind us all that our athletes are brilliant, and the skill level is great," he said.
“The A-League’s level of competiveness - where games go down to the wire - is something that we celebrate in Grand Final week even before we get to Newcastle on Saturday night.”