Taylor Walker has continued his hot start to the season, kicking six goals as the Crows beat the Suns in a thriller.
Taylor Walker has continued his spectacular resurgence to start the 2021 season, kicking six goals as the Adelaide Crows prevailed in an arm-wrestle against Gold Coast.
The Crows needed every one of Walker’s six majors as they overcame a fast start from the Suns to run out 14. 11. (95) to 12. 13. (85) winners at the Adelaide Oval.
Written off by many an expert coming into the year, Walker’s six-goal haul vaulted him back to the top of the AFL’s goal-kicking chart, with the ex-skipper nailing 17 majors in the first three games of the year.
Walkers has incredibly already surpassed last year’s goals tally of 15 with his outstanding performances through the Crows’ first three matches.
“I might have a bag of chocolates tonight,” Walker told Fox Footy after the win.
“(The younger players) are keeping me young. It’s bloody good fun, I love it. They give so much spark and entertainment and our fans absolutely love it.”
“He’s getting better with age,” Crows captain Rory Sloane said of his veteran forward.
“He’s been outstanding and he’s loving his footy, the big Texan.”
Walker’s match-winning showing attracted heavy praise from Bulldogs icon Brad Johnson, who explained how the veteran was capitalising on the AFL’s new rules.
“It really is unbelievable. I think the way the game is being played this year suits the key forwards and suits Tex Walker,” Johnson told Fox Footy.
“He’s not battling against defenses going back and slow ball movement which allows defenses to get back and outnumber. Every forward was finding it difficult, not just Tex.
“I think he was battling some back issues and those sorts of things, so he’s been able to overcome that and the game has changed back in the forward’s favour.
“Now he’s getting freedom with his movement, but the midfielders are getting space and therefore he’s getting the ball better and he’s capitalising, nine shots again tonight.”
Coach Matthew Nicks was full of praise for his star man after his side’s 10-point win.
“I’ve said it for three weeks now, he’s no younger or fitter than what he was last year,” he said.
“He’s in some very, very good form, we can’t hide from that. He’s in great form because of the way the team is playing around him and it’s a credit to him.
“I’m really loving the way he’s going about it, the way he’s playing his footy, he’s getting the reward he deserves.”
Walker was one of a number of Adelaide’s veteran core to wind back the clock against the Suns, with skipper Sloane leading all players with 34 disposals, while Rory Laird also collected 28 disposals of his own.
“It has already exceeded my expectations,” Hawthorn great Jason Dunstall said of the Crows’ 2-1 start to the season.
“I love what they’re doing. They are showing serious passion, intensity, fight and desperation.
“I love what Matthew Nicks is getting out of the group and they’re starting to believe, you could see the excitement in their faces when the final siren went.”
“At a time where the club could potentially be at its lowest ebb for sometime, but (Walker and Sloane) are driving the place like no other leaders in the competition right now,” Kangaroos great David King added on Fox Footy.
It was a bitterly disappointing result for the Suns, who copped another major injury when skipper Jarrod Witts went down with a knee injury in the third quarter.
Witts was helped off the ground after fellow ruckman Reilly O’Brien fell into his left leg and caused it to bend inwards. He was substituted off for Nick Holman, who kicked two final quarter goals.
According to Fox Footy sideline reporter Mark Ricciuto, O’Brien and the Suns believe that he had injured his medial ligament in the incident.
Holman’s two majors threatened to steal the game from Adelaide’s grasp when he gave his side a brief lead, before Walker’s sixth goal and a Ned McHenry dribbler sealed the deal.
Adelaide is a massive chance to extend its winning start to the season when it travels to Melbourne to take on North Melbourne in Round Four, while the Suns will host Carlton.