At the conclusion of the 2020 season, the footballing future of Taylor Walker looked bleak.
After stepping down as captain of the team, injuries and a compromised, covid-impacted season saw the Texan average his lowest number of goals per game in his career, by a fair way, too. With 15 snags from his 14 games, Walker looked to be a shadow of the player that led the Crows to the precipice of greatness just three years earlier, with many indicating that he should consider retirement.
I wonder if he listened to them, at all?
He looked heavy… slow. He could get no elevation and his kicking at goal lacked penetration. Those tree trunk legs were dragging his body across the park. Gone was the recovery and ability to lead an opponent under the footy – it was as though the defenders across the league were handed a “How to play against Taylor Walker” book, and had devoured it cover-to-cover. Even Adelaide fans were wondering if we were seeing the end of one of the most polarising players in the game.
But Walker wasn’t done yet. Not by a long shot, and with the club needing someone to stand up and take the heat while the young forwards earned their place in the team, Walker dug deep to produce, arguably, the best three seasons of his career.
What it has meant to the Crows is more than just goals, more than just stats, and more than just leadership. The work of Taylor Walker over the 2021-23 seasons has set this team up for a run at the top. And after picking up an All-Australian blazer for the first time in 2023, Tex might just hang around to be part of it as the Crows push their way back into finals.
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