Taylor walker continued their spectacular resurgence to start the 2021 season, scoring six goals as the Adelaide Crows won in a standoff against Gold Coast.
The Crows needed each of Walker’s six majors as they overcame a quick Suns departure to burn out 14. 11. (95) to 12. 13. (85) winners at the Adelaide Oval.
Canceled by many pundits as the year draws near, Walker’s six-goal run brought him back to the top of the AFL kicking chart, with the ex-skipper scoring 17 majors in the three first games of the year.
Walkers has incredibly already surpassed last year’s 15-goal tally with his stellar performances in the Crows’ first three games.
“I could have a bag of chocolates tonight,” Walker told Fox Footy after the win.
“(Young players) keep me young. It’s really a lot of fun, I love it. They give so much sparkle and fun and our fans love it.”
“He gets better with age,” Crows captain Rory Sloane said of his veteran forward.
“He was exceptional and he loves his football, the great Texan.”
Walker’s victory drew praise from Bulldogs icon Brad Johnson, who spoke about how the veteran was capitalizing on the new AFL rules.
“It’s really amazing. I think the way the game is being played this year is suitable for key attackers and suits Tex Walker,” Johnson told Fox Footy.
“He doesn’t fight backing defenses and slow ball movements, which allows defenses to fall back and outnumber. Every forward found it difficult, not just Tex.
“I think he was struggling with delay issues and that sort of thing, so he was able to get over that and the game changed in favor of the forward.
“Now he has freedom with his movements, but the midfielders have room and so he improves the ball and he capitalizes, nine more shots tonight.”
Coach Matthew Nicks praised his star man after his team’s 10-point victory.
“I’ve been saying this for three weeks now, he’s neither younger nor fitter than last year,” he said.
“He’s in very, very good shape, we can’t hide from that. He’s in great shape because of the way the team is playing around him and it’s an honor for him.
“I really like the way he does it, the way he plays his football, he gets the reward he deserves.”
Walker was one of many Adelaide veterans to turn back time against the Suns, with skipper Sloane leading all players with 34 assignments, while Rory Laird also collected 28 assignments.
“It has already exceeded my expectations,” said Hawthorn great Jason Dunstall of the Crows’ 2-1 start to the season.
“I love what they do. They show passion, intensity, combat and despair.
“I love what Matthew Nicks is pulling out of the band and they’re starting to believe, you could see the excitement in their faces when the final siren went off.
“At a time when the club could potentially be at their lowest level for a while, but (Walker and Sloane) are running the place like no other leader in the competition right now,” Kangaroos great David King added on Fox Footy.
It was a bitterly disappointing result for the Suns, who suffered another major injury when skipper Jarrod Witts injured his knee in the third quarter.
Witts was helped off the ground after compatriot Reilly O’Brien fell into his left leg and caused it to bend inward. He was replaced by Nick Holman, who scored two goals in the quarter-finals.
According to Fox Footy reporter Mark Ricciuto, O’Brien and the Suns believe he injured his medial ligament in the incident.
Holman’s two majors threatened to steal the game from Adelaide when he gave his team a brief lead, before Walker’s sixth goal and a dribbler from Ned McHenry sealed the deal.
Adelaide is a huge chance to extend her winning start to the season when she travels to Melbourne to face North Melbourne in the fourth round, while the Suns host Carlton.