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Tex walking tall as skipper

Nathan Schmook, AFL Media  February 24, 2017 5:27 PM

AFL 2016 First Elimination Final - Adelaide v North Melbourne

Taylor Walker will lead Adelaide as captain for a third season in 2017

He's a young captain who has come into it and become a really influential guy within our footy club.

Voted by his peers last year as the AFL's best captain, Adelaide skipper Taylor Walker enters 2017 as one of the season's most pivotal on-field figures.

A powerful forward who is in his prime at 26, an improved Walker could take the Crows from Semi-Finalists the past two years to a top-four team.

It is his leadership at Adelaide, however, that continues to earn rave reviews just two years after he was a surprise pick by the late Phil Walsh to captain the Club.

Walsh's replacement, Don Pyke, has watched Walker lead his team through a difficult 12 months and grow in influence. 

The second-year coach has a quiet confidence that Walker will continue to develop into one of the Club's great captains.

"That's what we hope," Pyke told AFL Media. 

"He's a young captain who has come into it and become a really influential guy within our footy club.

"He's got great intent, great care, and he's got great respect from the playing group, which heads him down a really good path."

Don Pyke’s Facebook Q&A

Walker became the Crows' youngest captain at 24 when he was appointed by Walsh in January of 2015, picked for the role ahead of Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane.

Any surprise then has turned to admiration for what could only be described as an inspired decision after Walker was voted the AFL players' best captain of 2016.

"He's got the right level of demand and challenge versus recognising and rewarding guys who do it well," Pyke said of Walker's leadership style. 

"There's often a line (to be drawn) if the continual feedback is demanding more and more and more.

"But he's the first guy to recognise if guys have done something well and he'll pat them on the back."

Pyke described Walker as "a strong personality" and "very organised away from footy".

It contrasts with the larrikin from Broken Hill who doesn't appear to take himself too seriously. 

"He's not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sort of guy," Pyke said.  

"He's meticulous in terms of things like his timing and notes."

Walker's other standout trait, Pyke said, was his care for teammates.

"He's the first guy to really reach out to players and offer support, which is what great leaders do," the coach said.  

"We had a young guy, who's going to come across and play in our SANFL team and he didn't have anywhere to stay.

"He was coming across and doing some medicals and training with us and Tex was the first guy to put his hand up and say, 'You can stay with me for a couple of weeks before Christmas'.

"That's the sort of thing he does, and does regularly with first-year recruits. He's a good man, Tex."