Taylor Walker (footballer)
Walker in April 2017 (colourised)
|Full name||Taylor Walker|
|Date of birth||25 April 1990|
|Place of birth||Broken Hill, New South Wales|
|Original team(s)||North Broken Hill (BHFL)
NSW/ACT Rams (TAC Cup)
|Draft||No. 75 (NSW SP), 2007 national draft|
|Debut||Round 1, 2009, Adelaide
vs. Collingwood, at MCG
|Height||195 cm (6 ft 5 in)|
|Weight||100 kg (220 lb)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2017.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Taylor Walker (born 25 April 1990) is a professional Australian rules footballer playing for the Adelaide Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He is a former NSW Scholarship player with the club, and was drafted with pick 75 in the 2007 National Draft. Walker has served as the captain of Adelaide since the 2015 season.
Walker attended Willyama High School in Broken Hill. His father, Wayne, was a prominent footballer in Broken Hill who played more than 350 games, and Walker soon followed in his footsteps. In 2006, Walker accepted a NSW Scholarship contract with Adelaide, at the age of 16. However, he 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.
Early career (2008–2011)
Walker spent his first year at the Crows playing for Norwood in the SANFL, kicking more than 50 goals in the 2008 season. He made his AFL debut in round 1 the next season, against Collingwood, and held his place in the side for the next 12 rounds. This included a five-goal performance against reigning premiers Hawthorn in round 10, which earned him an AFL Rising Star nomination. However, only three weeks later he was dropped from the senior side and played just one more match for the season, with coach Neil Craig wanting him to work on deficiencies in his game.
Walker returned to the side in 2010 and showed fluctuating form, showing glimpses of brilliance alongside some poor performances. He was 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. Again, Walker was accused of not showing enough defensive pressure in the forward line. He finished with 35 goals for the season from 18 games, including two bags of 4 goals against Fremantle and then Geelong.
Early in 2011, Walker was dropped once again 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 incoming expansion team Greater Western Sydney, with whom Walker had been previously strongly linked. However, late in the season, Walker re-signed with the Crows for a further four years. Despite inconsistent form and injuries, Walker was the club's leading goalkicker in 2011, booting 32 goals from only 13 games, at an average of 2.5 per game, ranked sixth in the AFL.
2012 saw Walker improve under new coach Brenton Sanderson. As of round 8, Walker led the Coleman Medal count, before two separate suspensions for rough tackles cost him the chance to lead the league's goalscoring. However, Walker returned to finish the season in good form, booting five goals in Adelaide's come-from-behind Semi Final win over Fremantle, and four goals the next week in the Crows' Preliminary Final loss to Hawthorn. In total, Walker kicked 63 goals for the season and 3.3 per game, second in the AFL behind Lance Franklin.
In round 5, 2013, against Carlton, Walker badly hyper-extended his right knee and suffered an ACL injury, requiring a full reconstruction and 12-month rehabilitation period. In the meantime, Walker made headlines by appearing on 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 $66,672.45 for the foundation before having his head shaved by TV personality and former Geelong star Sam Newman.
Walker made his return to competitive football early in the 2014 season in the Adelaide Crows reserves' side, kicking three goals in a 37-point loss to Glenelg. He made his return to the AFL against Collingwood in Round 9 at the Adelaide Oval, and played every game for the remainder of the season, kicking multiple goals in 11 games and a career-best six against the Brisbane Lions. He finished with 34 goals in 15 games, and averaged a career-high 14.7 disposals per game. In November, Walker extended his contract with the Crows for three further years, until the end of 2018.
In January 2015, Walker was appointed captain of Adelaide. He returned to his best form in that year, finishing fourth in the Coleman Medal with 55 goals in the home-and-away season and leading the club inspirationally as they overcame the death of senior coach Phil Walsh to make the semi-finals. He played his 100th AFL game in round 18 against the Sydney Swans at the Sydney Cricket Ground, fittingly in his home state of New South Wales.
In 2016, he was voted the AFL Player's Association captain of the year.
Walker went into his third season as captain with a full pre-season of training, but when the season began there were concerns that a hamstring strain suffered in a JLT Series match against Brisbane Lions could rule him out of the Crows’ first match against Greater Western Sydney. He worked hard to recover, going to extra training sessions in the week leading up to the match, but was ultimately left out of the team. He returned in the second round against Hawthorn. Walker began the season with great form, starring with five goals and four goal assists in the first half against Essendon in the absence of fellow key forwards Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern. He kicked 18 goals in his first five games while Adelaide remained undefeated, but he began to struggle, only kicking 16 in his next seven with the Crows losing five of those games. Though he was still contracted to play for the club until 2018, Walker signed a contract extension to the end of 2021. In a match against the Western Bulldogs, Walker bumped defender Jason Johannisen into a goal post. Johannisen went on to play the rest of the match, but the incident was looked at by the Match Review Panel, who charged Walker with misconduct and fined him $1,000. Walker missed the final match of the home and away season against West Coast due to a toe injury.
Walker captained Adelaide in the 2017 AFL Grand Final, which they lost to Richmond. Walker performed underwhelmingly and admitted that he was one of the players who didn’t play their role well enough. After the match he was criticized over the brevity of his post-match speech. When teammate Jake Lever requested a trade from Adelaide to Melbourne, Walker was again criticized for saying that Lever was “choosing money over success”. Weeks later Bryce Gibbs was traded to Adelaide from Carlton and Walker was accused of holding double standards, which he denied saying that Gibbs had come to Adelaide to spend time with family and accepted a pay cut.
- Statistics are correct to end of 2017 season
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
- "Crows sign Broken Hill junior". AFC.com.au. Adelaide Football Club. 24 May 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- Walsh, Scott; Harvy, Ben (14 January 2015). "Taylor Walker announced as new captain at Adelaide Crows". The Advertiser.
- Nicolussi, Christian (26 June 2009). "Youngster Taylor Walker under wraps in Sydney". The Daily Telegraph.
- North Football Club Records 2007 edition, page 1
- Gill, Katrina (9 December 2009). "Walker working his way back". AFC.com.au. Adelaide Football Club. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- Holmesby, Luke (2 June 2009). "NAB AFL Rising Star: Rd 10". AFL.com.au. Australian Football League. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- "Walker's drink small beer to Craig". ABC.net.au. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- "Taylor Walker - AFC.com.au". AFC.com.au. Adelaide Football Club.
- Spits, Scott (15 May 2012). "Crow Walker cops two-match penalty". The Age.
- Rucci, Michelangelo (1 July 2012). "Adelaide forward Taylor Walker facing three-match suspension for tackle on Steven Morris". The Advertiser.
- "Walker leads Crows to finals win". ABC.net.au. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "Hawks hang on against gutsy Crows". ABC.net.au. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 23 September 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- "ACL tear puts Walker out for the year". AFL.com.au. Australian Football League. 29 April 2013.
- Kelton, Sam (4 July 2013). "Taylor Walker cuts mullet for Leukaemia Foundation, raising $66,672". The Advertiser.
- Walsh, Scott (26 April 2014). "Birthday boy Taylor Walker kicks three goals in strong return, despite Adelaide's 37-point loss to Glenelg". The Advertiser.
- "Adelaide Crows secure Taylor Walker until 2018". ABC.net.au. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- Sutton, Malcolm (28 July 2015). "Crows captain Taylor Walker to play 100th game against Sydney Swans". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 27 September 2017.
- Gaskin, Lee (7 September 2017). "Skipper snub to 'complete leader': Tex's journey". AFL.com.au. Australian Football League. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- Homfray, Reece (14 February 2017). "Taylor Walker set for big 2017 after uninterrupted pre-season campaign". The Advertiser. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "Crows hopeful on Walker, Sloane fitness". SBS.com.au. SBS. 20 March 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "Walker, Sloane ramp up recovery". AFC.com.au. Bigpond. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "Hawks swing axe, Crows recall Tex in AFL". SBS.com.au. SBS. 30 March 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- McDermott, Chris (18 April 2017). "Chris McDermott reveals his Round 4 AFL Team of the Week". The Advertiser. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- Morris, Tom (26 June 2017). "Adelaide captain Taylor Walker under fire for 'cruising', urged to lift intensity". FoxSports.com.au. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- Harrington, Anna (27 June 2017). "Taylor Walker signs contract extension to remain with the Adelaide Crows". FoxSports.com.au. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- Cherny, Daniel (8 July 2017). "MRP will look at Adelaide captain Taylor Walker for Jason Johannisen push". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "Walker charged with misconduct". AFC.com.au. Bigpond. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "Is this the boost the Eagles need? Adelaide's Taylor Walker and Daniel Talia withdraw from crucial clash". PerthNow. News Corp Australia. 25 August 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "Taylor Walker has been shown up by Gavin Cooper, as Essendon legend Tim Watson claims the Crows turned on each other at halftime". FoxSports.com.au. News Corp Australia. 2 October 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- Robinson, Mark (11 October 2017). "Taylor Walker hasn't displayed great leadership since Grand Final loss and Jake Lever's trade request". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- Edmund, Sam (21 October 2017). "Taylor Walker denies double standards, says Lever and Gibbs different stories". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "AFL Tables - Taylor Walker statistics". AFL Tables.
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