Defence is king for Adelaide coach Phil Walsh and the club's main priority this pre-season is learning to better influence a game when not in possession.

Reigning best and fairest winner Daniel Talia told his new coach's philosophy was focused on what to do without the ball.

"You've got to defend when you don't have the ball, that’s the main thing," Talia said.

"Trying to hold opposition sides and not let them score, they're probably the main things we've been working on."

"I've got no idea how Hawthorn defend, but whatever they've done the last couple of years it's really worked for them.

The Crows had serious trouble stopping sides' momentum last year - they lost six games by two goals or less as a result.

Melbourne booted seven of the first eight goals to win by three points in round seven, while Carlton kicked six of the first eight in its six-point win in round ten.

In round 14 Essendon kicked seven of the first eight goals to win by nine points, and against North Melbourne in round 22 the Kangaroos booted seven of the last 11 goals to sneak home by seven points and effectively end the Crows’ finals hopes.

West Lakes is a melting pot of defensive ideas this summer; Kyle Cheney brings influence from Hawthorn, Walsh has a wealth of experience acquired at different clubs but most recently at Port Adelaide, and the playing group would retain many of the teachings of Brenton Sanderson.

"Kyle Cheney's brought some enthusiasm and some new ideas into the club… [but] we don't really have to compare other defences, Phil's brought in his concepts and that's what we're going to go with,” said Talia.

"I can't give the details away but he's really strong on his beliefs in defence and he's been teaching them to all of us guys. "

Talia's impassioned speech upon being named club champion last year called for his teammates to collectively raise the bar.

The 23-year-old specifically addressed the club's less experienced players to help the likes of Rory Sloane, Sam Jacobs, Brodie Smith, Patrick Dangerfield and Scott Thompson, who had been "pulling a bit too much of the load".

In hindsight the speech has tied in perfectly to Walsh's demand for "elite standards".

"Every pre-season is crucial when you haven't had a good season because you work really hard," Talia said.

 "The guys' attitude from the start of pre-season has been really good … Walshy barking those elite standards at training every session has really helped.

"I was really big on it at the end of last year that the boys had to come back and put the onus on themselves and I think a lot of guys have done that.

"My speech must have got through to a couple of players because everyone's come back and put the team before themselves."