Adelaide Crows forward Taylor Walker has quit the role of co-captain as the club prepares for potentially sweeping changes ahead of next season.
- Walker said spending time with his family was a key factor in his decision
- The 29-year-old has led the club for five years, including through challenging times
- Coach Don Pyke praised Walker as a “great leader” who would play a key role next season
Walker said family reasons were part of his decision and, in a revealing statement released by the club, also admitted he initially turned down the role.
The 29-year-old was appointed captain in early 2015 and led his side through some of its darkest days, following the death of then-coach Phil Walsh in July that year.
“When Walshy come to me and said I want you to lead this group, I’ll be honest, I said no,” Walker said.
Walker also steered the club into a grand final in 2017, but has had to contend with growing pressure as his side’s form has waned since then.
“I have made the decision to stand down so I can focus on enjoying my footy and spending time with my family,” he said.
“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.
“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.”
Walker became a co-captain of the club, along with the promoted Rory Sloane, at the start of the 2019 season, which Walker conceded had been “one of the toughest” in the club’s history.
“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,” he said.
The club has launched a “full, thorough and comprehensive” review into its performance after an unexpected and highly criticised form slump.
Coach Don Pyke praised Walker as a “great leader” who remains an inspiration off the field.
“He has also been a tremendous support to me as senior coach,” Pyke said.
“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.”