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Sanderson praises forward line

Sportal August 29, 2012, 8:55 pm
Taylor Walker

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Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson has credited his forwards for the work they have done this season in turning the Crows into a potent and attacking threat.

The Crows are the second-highest scoring team in the competition behind high-flying league leaders Hawthorn.

Adelaide have converted 56 percent of their 600 scoring opportunities through the middle of the big sticks, kicking a total of 335 goals.

Sanderson's men have enjoyed a dramatic change in forward fortunes when compared to this point last year when they created just 482 attacking chances for a paltry 1742 points and were ranked as the third-worst scoring team.

Having witnessed his side boot over 100 more goals this season, Sanderson commended his forwards for converting the bulk of the Crows' forward 50 entries, in particular key threats Taylor Walker (53), Ian Callinan (34), Kurt Tippett (33) and Jason Porplyzia (25) who have combined for 145 majors.

Sanderson said the efficiency in front of goal was due to the camaraderie and chemistry the Crows forwards shared on and off the field.

Just this week, Walker was subject to a prank when his fellow team-mates had his car towed while training for continually parking in an illegal car spot at AAMI Stadium.

"There's a good relationship with Walker, Porplyzia, Tippett and Callinan along with (fellow forward options) (Jared) Petrenko and (Bernie) Vince those guys feed off of each other," Sanderson said.

"It's a bit like where I came from at Geelong where the defenders played together for almost 10 years.

"They (Crows forwards) have started to develop a really good relationship and chemistry in amongst each other."

The rookie coach also pointed to the tutelage of assistant and forwards coach Mark Bickley and the adjustments he has made to the forward line structure, for the effectiveness in attack.

"We've kicked almost 600 points more than at the same time last year ... part of that is to do with the work Mark Bickley has done not only with our attack but also our forwards too," Sanderson said.

"As much as we can, we try to take the ball forward and that's no secret. We have a very low possession count so we don't over-posses the ball.

"We've got a (aerial) strength forward with Walker and Tippett so why not get it in there?

"If we can get the ball quickly to them, isolate them in one-on-ones, we think we can score.

"It's great when your key forwards take 27 marks (against Melbourne) between them two weeks before September. It just shows that if we get good delivery to them we are going to be really hard to beat.

"But the great thing also is when they don't mark it, Callinan is there (at ground level) in form along with Vince, Petrenko, (Matthew) Wright and Porplyzia."

Despite an arsenal of flexible and varying forward options, Sanderson singled out the club's leading goalkicker, Walker, as his biggest weapon.

Walker, who is enjoying a rich vein of form, topped off a career-best month of football with a 16-mark, four-goal performance in the Crows' 69-point win over Melbourne last Sunday.

"Taylor's quite unique in his personality, hopefully that's not saying something about him, but he is pretty special ... a great young talent," Sanderson beamed.

"He's a great kid and he's got so much improvement left in him as well which is quite scary ... he's got a bit of everything.

"We've seen the best of him this year but I think we'll see an even better player down the track.

"Taylor just knows where he fits with that (forward) group at the moment and we are getting the ball in his hands a lot more."

Adelaide take on Gold Coast at AAMI Stadium on Saturday for the final round of the regular season before preparing for their first finals campaign since 2009.

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