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Rat not rattled by trade rumour

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  December 12, 2016 2:12 PM

Rory Atkins Presser December 12 Rory Atkins speaks to media after a tough pre-season session.

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I called my manager straight away and he said, 'No mate, we haven't spoken to the Club about that'. I was quite happy here.

Having had his name thrown up in a possible trade for Carlton’s Bryce Gibbs, exciting Adelaide midfielder Rory Atkins wants to make his mark on games and become a vital component of the Crows' on-ball brigade.

Atkins is coming off a career-best season, the 22-year-old Victorian playing all 24 games and averaging 20.5 possessions.

It was no surprise that reports surfaced about the Blues indicating they were keen on Atkins if they were going to part with Gibbs.

In the end, the two clubs couldn't come to an agreement, with Gibbs having three years left to run on his contract with the Blues.

"I was actually in America at the time and I had no idea about it, saw an article written and it was the first time I heard anything about it," Atkins told reporters on Monday.

"I called my manager straight away and he said, 'No mate, we haven't spoken to the Club about that'.

"I was quite happy here."

After just eight games from 2013-15, Atkins became a regular contributor with the Crows through the midfield and on the wing with his pace and quality ball use.

He is keen to improve his consistency and trained for a week at the University of Southern California football program during the off-season.

"Just not fading in and out of games," Atkins said of his goals for next season.

"I played a few good games last year where I got a bit of the ball, and also playing to team structures.

"I feel I can go to the next level this year and really impose my mark on some football games."

Whether that starts during the JLT Community Series remains to be seen.

The AFL Players' Association has flagged possible strike action during the pre-season competition if it can't come to an agreement with the AFL about a collective bargaining agreement.

"Hopefully it gets done in the near future and it doesn't get to that point," Atkins said.

"If it does, I'm behind what all the players want to do.

"We might talk about it once a fortnight or something in a meeting or something, but it's not locker-room chat."

The Crows are aiming to be tougher at the contest after getting blown away by Sydney in the second week of the finals.

"We're implementing more drills that amplify what happens in a final like what happened against Sydney," Atkins said.

"We haven't had any dust ups at training yet.

"As it gets hotter and pre-season drags out, we get more intense and there's more contact drills.

"I'm keen to see what happens in the near future."