Crows forward Taylor Walker says he has learnt a lot from the way he approached the exit of former teammate Jake Lever following Adelaide’s 2017 grand final loss.
Speaking to AFL Media’s Damian Barrett, Walker admitted his tendency to wear his heart on his sleeve left him “caught out” on this occasion.
“When Jake Lever left I was quite vocal about it because I’m passionate, I’m loyal and I want people to stay at my footy club,” Walker said.
“It wasn’t a personal attack on Jake, it was more about how much I loved him and I just wanted him to stay but it didn’t fall that way.
“I’ve learnt from that - the industry is that people are going to come and go, that’s just the way it is.”
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In an attempt to understand Lever’s perspective, Walker tried to put himself in the defender’s shoes.
“I thought, if there was a Broken Hill team and there was an opportunity for me to go back home, would I do it?,” Walker said.
“I thought I probably would - my family, all my best mates are there.
“That’s how I computed things and navigated my way through that, but these things happen.”
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Despite his new perspective, the 29-year-old said he is yet to properly sit down with Lever to discuss his final weeks at West Lakes.
“One day I’ll have a beer with him and explain to him exactly what I meant,” Walker said.
“I chat to him a little bit here and there, Jake, but hopefully he understands it probably didn’t come across the way it should have.
“But that’s how I am, I’m black and white and I say it how it is.
“I’d rather be like that than be grey and not understand where people sit with me.”
Two years on, Walker faces a similar situation with best mate Brad Crouch, who will be out of contract at the end of the 2020 season.
“He’s one of my best mates - Brad knows how I feel, but I’ve learnt that it’s up to Brad,” Walker said.
“I’m not going to tell him what to do, it’s up to Brad to decide where his best future is.”