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Tex chasing childhood dream

Katrina Gill  September 26, 2017 6:59 PM

Walker's Journey to the 'G Taylor Walker looks back on his childhood as a Crows supporter.
AFL 2017 First Preliminary Final - Adelaide v Geelong

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Taylor Walker of the Crows celebrates making it through the grand final during the 2017 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the Geelong Cats at Adelaide Oval on September 22, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

Our mantra for the last four or five years has been, ‘let’s get the job done’ and bring back a premiership cup

Taylor Walker couldn’t sleep after helping to secure Adelaide’s first Grand Final berth in 19 years.

Walker’s elation manifested in a characteristic ‘Tex flex’ as the final siren sounded on the Club’s Preliminary Final win over Geelong last Friday night.

The Crows forward allowed himself to soak up the atmosphere at a pumping Adelaide Oval, and admitted it took some time to come down from the emotional high.

“In the first 24 – 36 hours, there wasn’t much sleep. But then on Sunday night I was in bed at 8:30pm and slept for a solid 11 hours!” Walker said.

“It probably only sunk on Monday that we’re into a Grand Final. I’m pinching myself – I’ll probably have more bruises by Saturday I’ve pinched myself that much!

“I’m happy that we’re in the Grand Final, but I’m not satisfied – I want to win it.

“A lot of hard work has gone into where we are now. Our mantra for the last four or five years has been, ‘let’s get the job done’ and bring back a premiership cup.

“I know our members, supporters and sponsors would be super happy if we did.

“It would put a big smile on South Australians’ faces.”

An avid Crows fan, Walker was seven-years-old when the Club claimed its first flag in 1997.

He watched the back-to-back premierships on TV with mates at home in Broken Hill.

“In 1997 and 1998, I remember I was a little kid barracking really hard for our team, so I can imagine what kids will be like watching us play on Saturday,” he said.

A star junior footballer, Walker was signed by Adelaide under the AFL NSW Scholarship program in 2006.

The North Broken Hill Bulldog grew up idolising Tony Modra, and was star struck in the company of new teammates Andrew McLeod, Mark Ricciuto, Tyson Edwards and Simon Goodwin.

“When I first got drafted by the Club, I went home to Broken Hill over the Christmas break after spending 4 – 5 weeks in Adelaide for the pre-season,” Walker said.

“My whole bedroom was full of Crows posters and I remember saying to Mum that we had to pull all of them down!

“The first few months I was here, I couldn’t call the greats like ‘Roo’ by their nicknames. I had to call them by their first names, which is probably how I was brought up as a kid.

“Ten years later, we’ve created an opportunity to win a premiership and we’re super excited about it.”

By his own admission, Walker never aspired to captain a team.

But on Saturday, the 27-year-old has the chance to become only the second Crows premiership captain.

The first was Mark Bickley, who was Walker’s forward line coach at Adelaide for four years.

In a nice touch, Bickley will present Walker and coach Don Pyke with the premiership cup if the Crows are victorious on Saturday.

“Bicks has definitely mentioned a few times that he’s the only premiership captain of this footy club,” Walker said.

“I watched the (Nineteen Ninety Seven) documentary on Fox Footy the other night and I’m hoping on Saturday that I don’t pass wind and spread the huddle like Bicks did in 1993 (Preliminary Final)!”

While Melbourne is embracing Richmond’s fairytale run, tens of thousands of Crows fans are expected to converge on the city this weekend.

South Australia is abuzz with excitement and Walker backed the Adelaide faithful to match it with the Tiger Army.

“You go down to the local coffee shop and everyone wants to shake your hand and say, ‘Congratulations’,” Walker said.

“My response to everyone is pretty much, ‘Let’s hold off the congratulations until next week, and hopefully we can win it’.

“We’ll go over there super confident that our game style will hold up, that we’ll play really tough footy and make it really hard for the Tigers.

“We’ve got busloads and carloads – probably not as many going over by plane because it’s too expensive at the moment – but I know our fans will flock over to the MCG to rally behind us and hopefully get us home.”