Crows coach in awe of Walker's pressure

·2-min read

The resurgence of power forward Taylor Walker continued apace with a six-goal haul at the SCG, where his tackling pressure shocked Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks.

Walker shot to top spot on the AFL's Coleman medal leaderboard as he unsuccessfully attempted to drag the Crows to victory over Sydney.

It came after a best-on-ground performance in round one, when he booted five goals against Geelong.

The obvious assumption is the 30-year-old is benefitting from the league's new rules, which appear to have increased the speed of the game and created more space for forwards to roam.

But the reality in Sydney was that Walker earned most of his shots on goals by winning holding-the-ball free kicks, hunting down players like Dane Rampe, Jake Lloyd and George Hewett.

"He had four or five tackles inside 50 and was kicking goals off of pressure," Nicks said.

"I don't want to be disrespectful to Tex, but that may have broken the amount of tackles he's had in the forward 50 over the course of his career. Unbelievable.

"He's done a lot of work on that.

"He's been working with our younger guys to make them better footballers, it's making him a better footballer."

There was speculation that Walker could be forced to retire after a disappointing 2020, when the Crows finished last.

Nicks noted the former captain is "motivated by leading the group", and benefited from his midfield's off-season gains.

"The team's in a better space. It's a team game, they deliver him the ball," he said.

"Tex is getting more bites at the cherry, that's a credit to the work they've done in the break.

"I'm really enjoying watching Tex play some good football, getting reward for everything he's doing."