Former Crows skipper’s raw admission
Former Adelaide captain Taylor "Tex" Walker has spoken of the hardship the club faced following the 2017 Grand Final loss to Richmond.
In a wide-ranging interview with AFL Media, Walker believed players at the club were left stewing on the performance, with a review of the game not taking place until after players went on a break.
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As the Crows captain between 2015 and 2019, Walker played under multiple coaches and even considered leaving the club at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
TRADE THOUGHTS CREEP INTO TEX'S MIND
"I thought we should have played finals, plain and simple, and obviously didn't," Walker said of their 2019 campaign.
"Then your mind starts to think 'is this the best place for me, how long have I got left in my career, do I step aside, do I stay on?'
"You just bounce. I would imagine a lot of players would bounce from that and then you just come to the decision I am a loyal person. Obviously thinking about is this the place to play my football.
"A couple of weeks, months. You speak to the people you trust, but in the end there was no way in the world I could leave this football club. Probably what kept me at the football club is that I have a lot to give towards the backend of my career."
GRAND FINAL REGRETS
Walker believed there may have been one way to help the football club move on after the defeat to Richmond.
"(They were) challenging times as a football club. We lost coaches, I've changed coaches," he reflected.
"(We) lost a Grand Final, played some good football. As a group we've grown and not many people would be able to say they've got to a Grand Final, albeit we lost. Nobody died out of it, so we certainly live and learn.
"Probably as a football club if you live in hindsight, we probably would've reviewed the Grand Final straight away rather than going on a break and coming back. We were very confident coming into it - and then not to win it.
"A lot of boys stewed on it and then to come back it was still a bit of s**t on my liver and a lot of boys were probably feeling the same thing. I think Pykey and the coaching group we all agreed in hindsight if we were to make another Grand Final and things didn't fall our way, we would've reviewed straight away."
REPRESENTING THE FOOTBALL CLUB
Walker stepped down as Adelaide captain at the end of last season, after the Crows failed to make finals for the second consecutive year.
"When things don't go the way planned, it's challenging as a leader of any business or sporting club," he said.
"You feel a lot more on your shoulders. We didn't perform and to find reasons why and try and continue to do your daily activities to train and play on the weekend. Not only myself but other players and families.
"South Australia is a quiet little town and everything is microscoped. There were times I didn't go out as I didn't want to see supporters or the general public, get their opinions, because you're sick of it."
Walker suggested there was now less of a weight on his shoulders after giving up the captaincy, believing he could play at least for the next three or fours seasons.
CRITICISING TEAMMATES LEAVING THE CLUB
Walker also explained he was wrong to criticise former teammate Jake Lever after he left to join Melbourne, believing he has matured enough to understand the decision facing out of contract midfielder Brad Crouch this season.
"I've certainly been caught out in the industry wearing my heart on my sleeve probably too much," Walker said of the Lever comments.
"Brad is one of my best mates, he knows how I feel. In saying that, I've learnt … it is up to Brad.
"I'm not going to tell him what to do. It is up to Brad to decide where he thinks it is best for his future.
"Everything is on the table for him. The footy club is there to support him. If he stays, I'd love that. If he doesn't stay, that's up to him. I won't give him a send-off. I've learnt."