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Walker backs better Betts

Max Phillips  March 18, 2016 10:18 AM

AFL 2015 Rd 23 - Geelong v Adelaide

Eddie Betts and Taylor Walker

I think he’s getting better and better.

Crows captain Taylor Walker believes teammate Eddie Betts can take his game to even bigger heights this season.

The livewire forward has been a revelation since joining Adelaide in 2014.

Betts topped the Club’s goalkicking and claimed Adelaide’s Coaches’ Award in his debut season as a Crow. The former Blue then backed up with another brilliant season last year, heading Adelaide’s goalkicking tally once again and claiming his first-ever All Australian honour.

Speaking at the AFL’s Captains’ Day at Etihad Stadium on Thursday, Walker backed Betts to continue the trend in 2016.

“I think he’s getting better and better,” Walker said.

“I was talking with David Teague, our forwards coach, the other day and we both agreed.

“That’s a bit scary for all the small defenders who have to play on him.”

Betts has always been a dangerous player around goal, but he is also among the AFL’s elite in bringing his teammates into the game.

He ranked second in the AFL last year for scoreboard impact behind only Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy, and was top ten in the League for total score assists. Betts was also 13th in the competition for score involvements in 2015.

Walker lauded Betts’ team-first approach and said it reflected the attitude of all Crows forwards heading into the new season.

“I don’t really rate myself on goals,” Walker said.

“I think now it’s based around the whole forward line being able to gel together, which we’ve been able to do.

“We’ve had a couple of pre-seasons together now and been really consistent. We know where each other runs and we know what each other’s leading patterns are like. If you can play your role within the forward line for the team, then that’s all we ask.

“We’ve got a really dynamic, unique forward line. If we can play our role every game, it’ll be an exciting forward line.”

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Walker is entering his second season as Crows captain after what was a challenging debut year as skipper.

He led the Club with impeccable strength following the tragic events of Phil Walsh’s passing, but also delivered on the field, kicking 59 goals and starring in Adelaide’s clutch Elimination Final win over the Western Bulldogs.

The 25-year-old said he’s continuing to embrace the responsibility of the role.

“I’m really enjoying it,” Walker said.

“But you don’t just do it by yourself; you’ve got a leadership group around you. I’ve got six other guys who I can lean on throughout the year.

“We did that last year, and we’ll continue to do that. We’ll continue to learn off each other and challenge each other along the way.”

Adelaide begins its premiership season campaign against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, March 26.