Walker ready for breakthrough season
Wednesday, 2nd February, 2011
By Peter Argent
Having played 32 games with the Adelaide Crows since debuting at the start of 2009, and having 58 career goals at the beginning of the 2011 campaign, Broken Hill's Taylor Walker is ready for a breakthrough year.
"At the top level it is all about believing," said Crows' forward line coach and dual premiership captain Mark Bickley.
"It takes some time to understand the requirements to be an elite AFL footballer and Taylor is now understanding these requirements.
"With his improved strength and natural improvement through another pre-season, a couple of strong performances early could mean this is a breakout year for him.
"He's a natural forward with a strong kick and a tremendous ability to read the play.
"There is also an element of flair in his game; he's working hard to improve his marking in contested situations and I believe you'll see an improvement in the body-on-body contests."
Bickley confirmed he'll be looking for an even spread of goal kickers in 2011, with Kurt Tippett, Patrick Dangerfield, Jason Porplyzia and Walker all expected to secure hauls during the season.
"There are days where we'd hope Taylor kicks five or six, but equally days were he may only snaffle one or two and be as valuable," Bickley said.
"An area of Taylor's game that is underrated is his running ability. His repeat (sprint) work has been very good. I reckon this will improve the way he covers the ground and develop his game further."
Walker didn't miss a session in the important period before Christmas, but an injured quad sidelined him for a short time in January.
He also said there was a major adjustment needed from training a couple nights a week back home in Broken Hill to being on the track each day of the week at the Crows.
"It certainly is the biggest change you need to adjust too," Walker said.
"I'm also doing two weights sessions a week, along with a boxing session, which I really enjoy.
"I've been happy with my progress through the pre-season and I've been running pretty well.
"My own goals have been set for the year and you'd love to play all 20 minor round games and then finals football.
"I'm keen to play in the opening NAB matches and believe the round robin format, with abridged games of two 20-minute halves, is a far better system for the first round."
Walker said that because of the way football is played these days, the positions of centre half forward and full forward had become virtually redundant.
He will play roles during the year both deep in the forward line and further up the ground.
Happy at the Adelaide Football Club, with a number of firm friendships formed, Walker said he was content at West Lakes and will let his manager look after his contract negotiations.
"There will be plenty of discussion with the changing face of AFL football and I just take it as it comes," he said.
He still has a big passion for the Silver City.
"I love getting home. All my family and a number of my best mates are there. I try to get back as much as possible."