Adelaide Crows defender Nick Murray playing in 2021. (Photo: Adelaide FC)

After joining Adelaide less than three weeks before his 2021 debut, young defender Nick Murray has his sights set on how he can take his career even further this season.

When Nick Murray arrived at West Lakes from New South Wales 12 months ago via the pre-season supplemental selection period, he could have never dreamed that he would play as many as 13 games in his debut season.

The unassuming Adelaide key defender says it was a debut season to remember, living out what he could have only dreamt of.

“Just to get here and being involved in the club and to get signed was a dream come true and then to actually play games, have a couple of wins and experience it at AFL level is just unbelievable,” Murray told media on Thursday.

“I wasn’t expecting to sort of play a game last year and to end up playing 13 games, was just out of my imagination.

“Obviously getting dropped in early January last year, I was still very raw coming off working big days and off the farm.”

Murray debuted for the Crows at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Round 2 of the 2021 season. He had only signed with the club 18 days prior, after coming down to Adelaide to take a chance on an AFL career.

The young defender was given a two year contract extension mid-season due to the importance of his role in the team once he slotted in. Throughout the season, he averaged nearly six spoils a game.

He received a Round 22 nomination for Mark of the Year in the loss against eventual premiers Melbourne. The mark was a courageous effort, Murray running back with the flight of the ball late in the third quarter over Kysaiah Pickett.

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Although last year was already a fantastic season for Murray, he has his sights firmly set on what he can go on to achieve in 2022.

“The body is good, it’s holding up good, it’s obviously my first full pre-season, coming in before Christmas,” he explained.

“The first three months when I came in, I put on six or seven kilos. I’m still about that weight but I have lost a bit of fat and leaned out a bit more, worked on my diet too.

“At least this year I have been given a proper off season, really work on the things I’ve needed to work on.

“[My goal was] to come in, do the four weeks before Christmas and attack that and get to this January period and put my best foot forward.”

He credits his former house-mate, ruckman Reilly O’Brien, with helping him along the way. He has been learning his habits and doing extra sessions, trying to keep up with him in a COVID-19 affected pre-season.

Murray has also enjoyed the mentorship of the senior defenders including Jordon Butts, Tom Doedee, Brodie Smith and Luke Brown.

His individual goals this season are to keep looking after his body, get fitter and to play his part, most of which have been helped by the introduction of Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Darren Burgess.

The young players in the backline have come together and learnt about what they need to work on across the pre-season, and will look to implement it this coming season.

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