In his debut as skipper Taylor Walker showcased his ability leading the Adelaide Crows to a triumphant 77-point victory over North Melbourne.
Walker has always been a massive crowd favourite, but his performance in the first round of the season in his first game as captain has set the benchmark.
To boot 6 goals while managing 22 disposals and 15 marks is a herculean effort that illustrates how effective he can be as the leader of the Crows.
It was Walker’s mammoth effort from the first bounce that set the precedent for Adelaide and instigated their trumping of a shell-shocked Kangaroos.
From the outset we saw Walker’s work-rate and talent come to the fore as he imposed himself on the game with hard running into space, effective ball use and of course goal kicking.
Walker was doing what any great leader does and forcing his imprint on the team.
With their skipper leading by example, Adelaide looked like a ferocious murder of crows.
New Crows coach Phil Walsh was understandably pleased with his skippers performance and would be feeling that his debated decision to elevate him to captain was justified.
“He played team footy. It was a great captain’s game,” Walsh said.
After all, it was important for Tex to stand up in this game and push aside all the hearsay and question marks around his selection as captain over Crows Superstars Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane.
Albeit Dangerfield and Sloane performed well, it was Walker who was easily the best on ground and was able to display the intangible qualities that mark him as a great future leader.
Walker was tough, gritty and played like a man in control of both the game and those around him – he set the example for those under him.
It is these intangible leadership qualities that make Walker exciting to watch, and what led Walsh to selecting him as captain.
“He always puts team first and he consistently meets elite standards, but most importantly, Tex influences others to follow him in the direction I want this club to go,” Walsh said in January when Walker was unveiled as the new Captain.
“He’s a competitor who desperately chases success – all qualities I want from every Crows player when they put the jumper on this year.”
These are qualities that Walker not only has, but exuded in his performance over the weekend.
At just 24-years-old the boy from Broken Hill has the time, qualities and most importantly the talent to rise with the Crows as the focal point to their future development.
From his talent-rich debut season in 2009, to his development years as a dynamic key-forward, even during his recovery season from a right knee ACL rupture – we have continually seen Walker develop into a proven leader and game-changer.
That’s why if you’re a Crows supporter – or if you just love footy being played the right way – then Taylor Walker is one of those guys you have just got to love.
The call has to be made – Walker has the potential to be the next legendary Adelaide Crows leader.
Written by Juan Estepa