Despite the round two loss to the Sydney Swans, Taylor Walker again starred for the Crows, booting six goals in an imposing performance to add to his haul of five in round one.
As an experienced member of the young Crows outfit, coach Matthew Nicks says Walker’s influence goes both ways, helping him improve as the team’s youngsters also improve.
“He’s been working with young guys to make them better footballers, [and] it’s making him a better footballer,” Nicks said after the match.
“He’s definitely motivated by leading the young group.
“The team’s in a better space and it’s a team game.”
Walker was ably assisted in the forward line by Shane McAdam, who kicked the opening goal of the game and added three consecutive goals in the last quarter to finish with four for the match.
Rory Laird also starred in his new-found midfield role, gathering 30 disposals, 10 clearances and 9 score involvements in an impressive display.
Nicks also said Laird’s experience, even though he’s not formally recognised as a leader at the club, is invaluable for the Crows’ midfield youngsters such as Ben Keays, Harry Schoenberg and Sam Berry.
“Lairdy’s really stepped up as a leader. He’s not part of our official leadership group but there’s no doubt he sits right in amongst those players,” he said.
“Now we expect it week-in-week-out from him, to step up in that midfield.”
Keays collected 28 disposals, 10 clearances and a goal, and is firming as an important cog in the Crows’ midfield, while Schoenberg gathered 14 disposals, 4 score involvements and 26 pressure acts.
But perhaps the most impressive of the Crows’ young brigade was Sam Berry, who accumulated 10 tackles and a game-high 31 pressure acts, as well as looking lively around goal to kick 4 behinds.
“He’s a smashing machine, Sam. He loves the physicality,” Nicks said of Berry.
“He had some opportunities today… I thought the effort was outstanding.”