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NAB AFL Rising Star: Rd 10

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ADELAIDE’S search for a tall forward since the days of Tony Modra has been much like the England cricket team’s search for an all-rounder post-Ian Botham.

Plenty of candidates have arrived and drawn comparisons only to fail to fill the big shoes, but Taylor Walker may well prove to best hope yet of an heir apparent to the man that starred for the Crows in the mid-90s.

Walker is the round 10 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee after a five-goal effort against Hawthorn. He has played every game so far this season, and while he has shown plenty of potential to be Adelaide’s long-term key forward, he bristles at comparisons to Modra.

“I don’t think you can compare me and Tony Modra. He’s kicked more than 500 goals. I’ve played 10 games and kicked 20 goals, so I don’t think there’s any comparison there,” he said.

Far from claiming to be the Crows’ version of Flintoff, Walker was quick to point out Adelaide’s other forward options to deflect attention.

“I’m still trying to find myself, as is Patrick Dangerfield. With Kurt Tippett and Jason Porplyzia down there, we still have Brett Burton and Trent Hentschel to come back,” he said.

“We’ve got a few guys we can go to. With the youth coming through it is going to be very exciting for the Adelaide football club over the next couple of years.”

Walker is not getting ahead of himself, and hints that he is still uncertain that he is a certain selection in the lead-up to Tyson Edwards’ 300th game this week.

“Every team will find something for a milestone match. If I get picked this week I’ll be very excited and proud to play with Tyson in his 300th game,” he said.

“He’s a gentleman and someone I’ve always looked up to. Everyone respects what he says, and 300 games for an AFL team is a big honour. Tyson should be very proud of himself.”

Walker came to the Crows through the NSW scholarship program and was drafted at the end of 2007. After spending 15 months living with a host family, he is now living in Newport Quays with a friend from Broken Hill.

He says the NSW scholarship program was integral to his eventual drafting.

“I think it is a good program that the AFL brought in. There are six or seven guys from Broken Hill on scholarships now,” he said.

“Dean Solomon and Brent Staker came out of Broken Hill to play AFL. I’m all for the scholarship program which I was lucky enough to get.”