A battler and a leader – Taylor Walker

Taylor Walker. Picture: afc.com.au

Former Adelaide Crows captain Taylor Walker makes his 200th appearance for the club this week, and it’s been a hell of a journey.

Not many people have had to deal with the outside scrutiny Tex has copped throughout his career, not to mention the challenges.

He’s taken every single one of those on the chin and gone about his business.

From his first season in 2009, expectations were high from the Crows fans.

They’d liked what they had seen at SANFL level and he ended up playing 14 games in his first season with 23 goals.

By the time he was 22, he’d kicked 63 goals in one season despite playing just 19 games.

The following year came hurdle number one, the horrific knee injury and ACL injury.

The Crows fell from a preliminary final loss against Hawthorn to missing the finals altogether.

2015 comes around and newly appointed coach Phil Walsh gives Walker the captaincy.

It was a move that was a shock to many outside of West Lakes, but not so much to those inside the walls.

The Crows were growing under their new mentor, then tragedy struck with Walsh’s death.

Walker dealt with something no other captain had to before, the death of a coach.

To be able to help guide that side, full of plenty of young players and grown men who had experienced absolute hell, is something remarkable.

All this before his 100th game and as a 25-year-old.

He continued as captain through the Don Pyke era and was voted as the competition’s best skipper by his peers in 2016.

In 2017, the Crows made the grand final, and Walker was a pivotal part of the side that made the decider, despite losing to Richmond.

Walker copped criticism for the post-match speech and his frustration with Jake Lever’s departure.

He had just lost a grand final, and no-one likes it when a player leaves to go to another club.

The Crows fell apart in 2018, missing the finals after dominating in 2017.

Walker missed eight games of the season, but still managed 26 goals.

Tragedy again struck the Crows captain, with his partner Ellie suffering a miscarriage with their first child.

Outside criticism, personal grief among many other things, it’s a wonder Walker was able to keep his head on straight.

Now he’s no longer got the captaincy on his shoulders, but he’s guiding a young Crows team to the next part of their journey despite a tough inaugural season under Matthew Nicks.

His 200th game, a few goals off of Tony Modra’s all-time Crows goalkicking record, it’s been a hell of a career so far.

May we see Taylor Walker flourish well and truly again soon.

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