Crows review claims first casualty
ADELAIDE Crows star Taylor Walker has quit his role as co-captain of the AFL club after five seasons in the role.
The 29-year-old Walker was appointed to the role in 2014 by late coach Phil Walsh and was twice voted the league's best captain.
Walker was in the role through three finals campaigns, including the minor premiership and runners up finish in 2017 but after two disappointing seasons, the star decided to step back.
He held the position with Rory Sloane.
The Crows are currently undergoing an external review of the club as they chase answers as to why the club have fallen so quickly since the 2017 minor premiership and grand final appearance.
In the past two seasons, the Crows have finished 12th in 2018 and 11th in 2019.
Walker wrote an open letter on the Adelaide Crows website with the admission he turned down the role when he was first asked by Walsh.
"It has been a great privilege to lead this Club for the last five years, through some great times and some very sad and challenging times," the letter read.
"These times have made me realise what's really important in my life - family, mateship and making the most of the time we have in the game we all love.
"I have made the decision to stand down so I can focus on enjoying my footy and spending time with my family.
"When Walshy come to me and said I want you to lead this group … I'll be honest, I said no.
"What a silly answer that was, because this Club means so much to me.
"The role has helped me grow, mature, learn and seek to understand others' views but most of all I've enjoyed the challenge of leading this Football Club.
"You can't hold a leadership position without the support of many others and my teammates, coaches, mentors and many Club staff have played a major role in shaping who I am.
"The Adelaide Crows have a long and proud history and this year has been one of the toughest.
"We owe it to ourselves and the fans and members to get this club back to where it belongs and that's playing finals footy every year.
"I will always be grateful to the Adelaide Football Club for this opportunity and look forward to a big 2020."
Walker was captain when Walsh was found dead at the age of 55 with multiple stab wounds.
His son was charged and ultimately found not guilty due to mental incompetence.
Walker was praised for his leadership as the club came to terms with what happened in the surreal aftermath.
In a 2017 interview, Walker said Walsh was still such a huge part of his career.
"I don't reckon there'd be a day where I don't drive to the footy and club and think: either do it for Phil or I just think of him," Walker said.
Current Crows coach Don Pyke said he respected Walker's reasons for stepping down.
"From the day I arrived, Taylor has been a great leader who has helped and inspired his teammates, coaches and staff," Pyke said.
"He has also been a tremendous support to me as senior coach and not only shown genuine care for all of those inside the club, but also the wider community with some of his charity work.
"He will continue to offer advice and play a key role in developing our next generation of leaders, and I look forward to seeing what more he can achieve on-field."
AFL.com.au yesterday reported Walker and Sloane's captaincy would come into question.
Walker was reportedly "in deep thought about his role" and the star was reportedly worn down "not just with the Crows but Adelaide the city".
The review has been controversial to say the least with some quarters of the AFL praising the decision and others slamming the call.
Former Essendon great Matthew Lloyd took aim at the decision on Channel 9's Footy Classified.
"There's clubs laughing at the Adelaide Crows," he said.
"I'm saying anyone from the outside isn't a great fit. You have to live and breathe what's gone on at that football club."
Journalist Caroline Wilson said the review has come a year too late.
"They've wasted a year. They've treaded water this year," Wilson said.
"They knew of all these problems last year, the players told them, coaches told them, coaches left, they didn't listen."