Eight goals in eight games is a fantastic return for any top of the line centre forward.
Factor in that he is playing in midfield and has half that amount in assists, and one begins to recognise that Panny Nikas may well be having his best season yet.
The Sutherland Sharks midfielder is a goal-machine, whether playing in the number 10 role or deeper alongside Nick Stavroulakis in midfield.
After a shocking first round against Blacktown Spartans, Sutherland have hit the stride in 2014 and Nikas is pleased that they have found their groove.
“Things are going really well, apart from the first game we haven’t been outplayed and things are starting to gel,” Nikas said,
The Sharks number 23 attributes his metronomic consistency in front of goal to a desire to do well for the side and to chip in as much as he can.
“It’s just about contributing to the team, I love scoring and setting up goals,” Nikas said.
“It’s about doing things so that when you come off the pitch after 90 minutes you know you’ve contributed.”
Much has been made of the partnership between Nikas and Stavroulakis in midfield, with the latter doing the unheralded job of breaking up play and retaining possession. Without his contribution, Nikas wouldn’t be able to break forward as he does, something of which he is fully aware.
“In every team you need people to balance you out,” Nikas said.
“Stav knows his role really well, he’ll assist and break up play, I know he’ll be there if I bomb on so I’m working with him to control the game.”
Nikas has tasted the A-League at Central Coast Mariners and at North Queensland Fury, but the demise of the Fury couldn’t have come at a worse time. He returned to Sutherland and hasn’t yet received another opportunity.
“People have questioned whether I want to go to the A-League, it’s a stupid question,” he said.
“I want to get there. I want to improve and refine my game, score more goals, make more assists and play better football.”
One man who could help him get there is his coach, Robbie Stanton, who once again has Sutherland playing some beautiful football.
“I’ve been with Robbie for five or six years, I’ve seen him evolve as a coach, but his philosophy is that he always wants to play,” Nikas said.
“That’s the difference with him. He always has time for his players.
“I think he’ll get higher recognition soon.”
If Nikas continues in this vein for the rest of the season, then it is only a matter of time before he does, too.
Originally posted nswpl.com.au 9th May 2014