Main content

Recommended videos

Highlights: Richmond v Carlton

11:17pm Mar 27, 2014

Malthouse rues costly mistakes

11:44pm Mar 27, 2014

Recommended articles

Sunday football as it happened

Sunday football as it happened

Recap Port's Showdown upset, plus big wins for the Hawks and Tigers

11:45am Apr 14, 2013

St Kilda v Richmond as it happened

St Kilda v Richmond as it happened

 Recap Friday night's MCG clash as the Tigers make their best start to a season in 16 years

04:00pm Apr 5, 2013

Carlton v Collingwood as it happened

Carlton v Collingwood as it happened

Recap Friday night's blockbuster as the Blues capitulate in front of 78,000 at the MCG

10:36pm Jul 5, 2013

Saturday football as it happened

Saturday football as it happened

Recap a day bookended by two major boilovers

01:00pm Mar 30, 2013

Fantasy review: round three

Fantasy review: round three

It was a tough round for AFL Fantasy coaches, Warnie writes

10:42pm Apr 6, 2014

Football world sends off Hafey in style

Football world sends off Hafey in style

Tom Hafey remembered as a great coach and a wonderful man

06:15pm May 19, 2014

Modra backs Tex return in 2014

Harry Thring  May 2, 2013 8:23 AM

AFL 1997 1st Preliminary Final - Western Bulldogs v Adelaide

Tony Modra has backed Taylor Walker to fully recover from his knee injury

Taylor would be pretty hungry already, but I think this would just make him hungrier than ever when he does come back
ADELAIDE'S greatest-ever goal kicker Tony Modra thinks Taylor Walker will emerge an even better player in 2014 - bigger, hungrier and smarter than ever.

Walker ruptured the ACL in his right knee against Carlton last Saturday and has opted for a traditional reconstruction.

Modra told that while a year on the sidelines would see Walker return stronger and fitter, time spent watching the game from a coach's point of view would make him a more intelligent player.

The former superstar heart-breakingly missed Adelaide's 1997 premiership after becoming the 22nd player to require a knee reconstruction that season - the most in the last 17 years.

Modra believes he returned a more complete player thanks to watching from the sidelines.

"Taylor would be pretty hungry already, but I think this would just make him hungrier than ever when he does come back," Modra told

"But it'll give him a good opportunity to sit in the box which I reckon 'Sando' (Brenton Sanderson) would definitely do, make him have a good look at the game and they way it's played – that'll definitely help.

"He's obviously got a year to work on that now so he's going to come back a better player body-wise, but tactically wise as well.

"I didn't really get invited into the box too often, I really just looked from the side and it did make me a better player in the end."

Walker is a much-loved figure in Adelaide and one of the best-performing forwards in recent memory.

In recent years, Walker's 163 goals in 69 games is second only to Lance Franklin (181) to that point in a career.

While he played in a different era, Modra had already booted 278 goals by the same point in his career.

Working in Walker's favour, Modra said, was that the leg the he used to launch off was still intact.

It was Modra's all-important jumping knee, his left knee, which required a reconstruction when he injured it during the 1997 preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs.

Tony Modra hits the deck in the 1997 preliminary final. Picture: AFL Media

He insisted confidence in his reconstructed knee would be the most important thing for Walker to consider when a return was on the cards next season.

The Crows took such a cautious approach with Modra's own return to football in 1998 that he had to prove his fitness by jumping off a fridge and land using only his 'bad' leg.

"I definitely made sure I was fully confident when I came back and did everything possible in the rehabilitation which I'm sure he'll do," he said.

"They were really cautious with me…I was basically jumping left right and centre and off fridges onto one leg to prove I was fine.

"With his knee, it's his right knee that's injured so that's an advantage because it's not his jumping knee for a start.

"That'll probably make him recover a bit quicker."

Harry Thring is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry.