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SANFL Highlights R5: Awesome Atkins Rory Atkins beats two opponents and steers one through the middle for a goal against the Port Magpies at Clare Oval
Rory Atkins collected a season-high 29 disposals in Adelaide's Round Eight victory over South Adelaide

Rory Atkins collected a season-high 29 disposals in Adelaide's Round Eight victory over South Adelaide

They’re both quality players with a great amount of AFL experience, so I try to take aspects from both of their games I feel that I can use

Young midfielder Rory Atkins says the tutelage of Crows veterans Richard Douglas and David Mackay has helped to accelerate his football development this season.

Atkins was influential in Adelaide’s victory over South Adelaide a fortnight ago, gathering a season-high 29 disposals and 10 marks in his best performance in the tri-colours.

Taken by Adelaide with pick No.81 in the 2012 National Draft, Atkins said the advice of his senior teammates had made a significant impact on his game.

“I tend to bounce a lot of questions off David Mackay and Richard Douglas,” Atkins told afc.com.au.

“They’re both quality players with a great amount of AFL experience, so I try to take aspects from both of their games I feel that I can use.

“They’ve just been great to help me take that next step in my development.”

The versatile left-footer has been used in a variety of roles in the 18 months since joining the Club. Atkins notched seven league games with Sturt last year as well as 12 reserves appearances.

However, the speedy 19-year-old said he had found a home with the SANFL Crows this year, playing a role similar to mentor Mackay.

“I reckon I play my best footy running up and down the wings,” Atkins said.

“I like to get back and help the defenders out as much as I can, then run hard up forward and try to burn off my opponent.

“My kicking and decision-making with the ball are probably my main strengths, so I try to utilise those aspects of my game the most and I think the wing suits those strengths.

“But once I get a bit stronger and harden my body up a bit more over the years I’d like to move more into the midfield.”

Drafted from the famed Calder Cannons Football Club, where he won the club’s 2012 best and fairest and was a member of the leadership group, Atkins said he still has many areas to improve before making the next step towards an AFL debut.

“I’d like to improve my consistency throughout quarters and games,” he said.

“Sometimes I’ll have a red-hot quarter and then won’t be seen in the next, so I’ve been working really hard at that.

“But I feel like I’m getting there. All you can do is just produce the best footy that you can and take every opportunity as it comes.”

The SANFL Crows face an in-form Woodville-West Torrens on Saturday in arguably the side’s biggest test of the season. The Eagles have won their past five games to sit second on the SANFL table.

“They’ve been going well and it’s going to be a tough challenge for us, without a doubt,” Atkins said ahead of this week’s Round Nine fixture.

The clash will be the first time that Brad and Matt Crouch will play alongside each other in Crows colours. Channel 7 will broadcast the game live.

“We just need to try and replicate how we played down at South Adelaide a fortnight ago. Hopefully we can play a consistent game of football and get the result.”