Taylor Walker (footballer)
|Nickname(s)||Tex, Texas, Texan|
|Date of birth||25 April 1990|
|Place of birth||Broken Hill, New South Wales|
|Original team||North Broken Hill / NSW/ACT Rams|
|Draft||#75 (NSW SP), 2007 National Draft, Adelaide|
|Debut||Round 1, 2009, Adelaide
v. Collingwood, at MCG
|Height/Weight||192cm / 100 kg|
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 2013 season.
Walker accepted a NSW Scholarship contract in 2006 with Adelaide, when 16 years of age. However, Walker continued to play for his senior local amateur league team, North Broken Hill, in the Broken Hill Football League, leading them to the 2007 Premiership with a seven goal, best on ground performance, playing at centre half forward. Walker attended Willyama High School in Broken Hill.
Taylor's father Wayne, was a prominent footballer in Broken Hill, and was known for his aggressive attack on the ball, which often left several of his opponents in his wake.
In 2008, after being drafted to the Adelaide's senior list, he began to play for Norwood in the SANFL. Walker kicked 56 goals in his first year of professional league football, in the second tier SANFL, including kicking seven goals in an elimination final victory over rivals Port Adelaide. Walker made his AFL debut against Collingwood in round 1 of his second season, in 2009. He instantly impressed, showing signs of forming a lethal forward combination with fellow Adelaide young forward, Kurt Tippett. He received the NAB Rising Star nomination, following a 5 goal performance, in a win against Hawthorn in Round 10, but was dropped from the senior side later in the season, on the back of a few poor performance, where his defensive pressure was judged not to be good enough to retain his position in the side. Walker regained his spot in the side several weeks later after impressing in the local league but was again dropped.
Walker returned to the side in 2010 and showed fluctuating form, showing glimpses of brilliance along with some terrible form, he was again dropped from the side on a number of occasions throughout the year, sparking rumours that he and head coach Neil Craig were not seeing eye to eye and that Craig was using Walker as a 'scapegoat' for Adelaide's poor form throughout the year. Walker was accused of not showing enough forward pressure and was sent by the coaching staff to improve on this aspect of his game.
He finished with 35 goals for the season from 18 games, including two bags of 4 goals against Fremantle and then Geelong.
In 2011, Walker was dropped for two weeks after showing poor form and was seen drinking a beer on live television at a SANFL game, sparking speculation that he 'didn't care' and may have signed a contract with Greater Western Sydney, the eighteenth side in the AFL who entered the competition in 2012 and with whom Walker had been previously strongly linked. Walker made a return to the side, only to injure his knee in his first game back, sidelining him for several weeks.
Walker's contract with the Adelaide Crows ended at the conclusion of the 2011 season and Walker and his management had put off contract talks with the club until the seasons end, fueling more speculation that Walker planned on walking out on the club, or may have already signed and could already be contracted to the GWS from season 2012. However Walker re-signed with the Crows with a deal keeping him at the club until the 2015 season. Instead the Crows lost Phil Davis to the GWS franchise.
Walker also was awarded the club's leading goal-kicker award for season 2011, in which he booted 32 goals from only 13 games, and was ranked 5th in the AFL for goals kicked per game.
2012 saw Walker improve under new coach, Brenton Sanderson. As of round 8, Walker led the Coleman Medal count. However, it was in this round he was suspended for a rough tackle on Harry Taylor. Walker came back in Round 11 against Fremantle only to be cited again by the match review panel after Round 14 for a similar tackle against Richmond's Steven Morris. This tackle earned Walker a three-week penalty, effectively taking him out of the Coleman Medal race.
Walker's form in the second half of the 2012 season was impressive, kicking 16 goals in 5 games, including a run of 4 goals a game for 4 games in a row. In his first final, a Qualifying Final against the Sydney Swans at AAMI Stadium, Walker was kept to 1 goal as the Crows lost by 29 points.
Taylor then made his mark on an AFL final by booting 5 goals against Fremantle the following week in the Semi-final at AAMI Stadium. He was judged by many to be best on ground and it was said that this was his 'coming of age' as an AFL footballer.
The following week in the Preliminary Final against Hawthorn at the MCG, Walker was again amongst the Crows' best players, kicking 4 goals including a goal in the last 30 seconds to bring Adelaide within 5 points of Hawthorn. Taylor's performance added to his reputation of being a 'big game' player.
With the departure of Kurt Tippett, Walker looked poised to become Adelaide's dominant forward, although he struggled early on. He badly hyper-extended his right knee and suffered an ACL injury in Adelaide's Round 5 loss to Carlton. He was ruled out for the rest of the season.
Taylor made headlines by appearing on Channel 9's 'The Footy Show' and agreeing to shave his famous 'mullet' to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. He then went on to raise a total of $66,672 for the foundation before having his head shaved by TV personality and former Geelong star Sam Newman.
With the start of the 2014 season there was plenty of speculation as to when Walker would return to the AFL stage after a successful knee re-construction. He returned through the Adelaide Crows newly formed SANFL Reserves side with games against Glenelg & Port Adelaide before making his return to the AFL against Collingwood in Round 9 at the Adelaide Oval. Walker looked to be a little nervous on his newly-fixed knee but truly announced his return against the Gold Coast two weeks later, booting 5 goals and gathering 22 disposals in a best on ground perfomance.
In Rounds 19 and 20, Walker grabbed bags of 4 goals against West Coast at the Adelaide Oval & 6 goals against the Brisbane Lions at the GABBA.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
- Holmesby, Luke (2 June 2009). "Crow wins R10 NAB AFL Rising Star". Australian Football League. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
- Walker's beer an 'innocent mistake'. Afc.com.au (23 May 2011). Retrieved on 2012-09-29.
- Walker repaying the faith. Afl.com.au (9 August 2011). Retrieved on 2012-09-29.
- Taylor Walker Player Profile bio – Official AFL Website of the Adelaide Football Club. Afc.com.au. Retrieved on 2012-09-29.
- MacFarlane, G (13 May 2012), Yips the wildcard in Coleman Medal shootout, Herald Sun
- Spits, S (15 May 2012), Crow Walker cops two-match penalty, The Age
- Landsberger, S (3 July 2012). St Kilda's Brendon Goddard stung two weeks by the match review panel, Herald Sun
- Walker leads Crows to finals win – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Abc.net.au (15 September 2012). Retrieved on 2012-09-29.
- 2012 Carlton Draught Match Centre. Afl.com.au (4 January 2012). Retrieved on 2012-09-29.
- ACL tear puts Walker out for the year
- "Taylor Walker statistics". AFL Tables. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- "Taylor Walker of the Adelaide Crows Career AFL Stats". Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- Taylor Walker's profile on the official website of the Adelaide Football Club
- Taylor Walker's statistics from AFL Tables