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Rory ready for next level

Rory Atkins collected a season-high 29 disposals in Adelaide's Round Eight victory over South Adelaide
Rory Atkins was one of Adelaide's best performers in the SANFL last season
We have to do the hard work now to make sure that belief is there on game day.
Rory Atkins

Emerging left-footer Rory Atkins is targeting an AFL berth next year.

Atkins, 20, was twice an emergency for the senior team last season following a string of impressive SANFL performances.

A best and fairest winner with the Calder Cannons U18s before being drafted by Adelaide, Atkins averaged 19 possessions and six marks across 16 state league games with the SANFL Crows. He also finished in sixth position in Adelaide’s State League Club Champion award.

Atkins said he had his sights set on an even bigger 2015 campaign.

“The goal is to play AFL football,” Atkins told afc.com.au.

“But I can only control what I can, so I’m just going to concentrate on improving my game every day.”

Player Profile: Rory Atkins

One of the most skilled ball-users at the Club, Atkins said his versatility could also pay dividends at the selection table next year.

“I can play anywhere the coach needs me,” he said.

“Whether that’s across a wing, in the midfield or at half-back. Hopefully that helps get me a game.

“I just need to keep at it and try to play a bit more consistently. If I improve my fitness a little bit more hopefully that will also hold me in good stead for the season.”

Atkins also hopes Phil Walsh’s love for left-footers can help him find a way into the coach’s good books.

“That definitely helps,” Atkins said with a laugh.

“Hopefully that works my favour.”

The Victorian, who spent the offseason visiting his sister in Hong Kong, said the Crows have enjoyed a fresh vibe this pre-season under new coach Walsh.

Atkins said the players were pushing new boundaries after narrowly missing a finals berth at both AFL and SANFL level last season.

Adelaide’s senior side lost six games by under two goals in 2014, while the SANFL Crows fell by six points in three crucial games in the back half of the season.

“I think we can turn things around just by making sure we win those close ones,” Atkins said.

“But that all starts on the training track. We have to do the hard work now to make sure that belief is there on game day.”

“All the players can’t wait for next season to start.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs