By Peter Argent
One of Broken Hill’s finest football exports, and certainly one of the longest serving, Taylor Walker has signed a one-year contract extension with the Adelaide Crows, which sees him committed to the club he barracked for as a child, to the end of the 2023 season.
Thirty-two-year-old Walker’s future at West Lakes had been the subject of plenty of recent discussion.
Since returning from the club-imposed suspension in round four, Walker has been in sparkling form up forward.
With another five goals last Saturday in the heartbreaking loss to Collingwood at Adelaide’s home of sport, Walker has now kicked 36 goals across his 13 appearances so far.
To this point of his career (round 18, 2022) Walker had played 233 AFL games and kicked 525 goals, averaging 2.42 goals a match across his entire tenure.
“This means a lot to me that I am going to be a Crow for life,” Walker said after it was announced he was continuing next year.
“As one of the older blokes going around, I am also very proud that I can still contribute both on and off the field.
“While it has been a difficult period for our Club on the field, I get a real buzz from helping the younger guys improve and we are making progress.
“We all want to get back up the ladder as quickly as possible and I know some of our Members and fans are finding these times frustrating.
“We can’t lose sight of the bigger picture though and we have been able to match it with teams that will be challenging for the flag for lengthy periods this season.”
This year Walker had a six-goal hail against North Melbourne, kicked five goals in a win at home against Richmond, and also snaffled four majors in his first game back against Essendon.
He needs another 24 goals to break into the top 50 goals kickers across the entire AFL-VFL history.
Crows Senior Coach Matthew Nicks said Walker remained a crucial part of Adelaide’s team and praised the key forward’s consistency and strong form.
“Taylor sets an example for our young players in how to prepare and perform on game day and to be playing the type of footy he is into his 30s is a credit to him,” Nicks said.
“In addition to regularly hitting the scoreboard, his experience in helping develop and guide our next generation of forwards is invaluable and can never be underestimated.
“We are very pleased that he will still be a big part of what we are building and look forward to him continuing to make an impact.”
An Under 18s All-Australian and premiership player with North Broken Hill in 2007, he had a full season in the SANFL with Norwood in ’08, before making his initial steps at AFL level in 2009.
The Adelaide skipper from 2015 to 2019, he was the AFL Players Association best captain in ’16 and ’17.
The player who has kicked the most goals in the Crows history, Walker was Adelaide’s leading goal- kicker on five occasions (2011, 2012, 2019, 2020, 2021) and expected to win it again this year, despite his late start.