Taylor Walker during Adelaide's loss to Hawthorn in round 12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THE PROS include being an All-Australian key forward as recently as last year, old-fashioned footy smarts, leadership which has twice at a season's end been recognised by peers as the game's best, and elite goalkicking nous.

Among the cons is age – there will be a 35th birthday early next season. And the body, while sound enough to get him through 271 AFL matches, is clearly not as pristine as it once was.

But mix the positives with the negatives, and out spins a big net gain.


Taylor Walker, out of contract, wants to play in 2025. While a formal decision to commit beyond 2024, his 16th season in the AFL, has yet to be properly thrashed out, it is known he is strongly leaning toward seeking a new football contract. For him, that deal ideally would be with his beloved Adelaide Crows.

There are no guarantees here. After a dreadful opening 14 matches of this season, which has seen the club produce just four wins and one draw, many aspects of Crows operations have become subject to review, including not just list management decisions on an ageing warrior but those who make those decisions.

Clearly, not every one of the Crows' 17 rivals would see massive benefits in recruiting Walker at this stage of his football life, but only one would definitely be off limits – Port Adelaide. After living with a hatred of the Power since being drafted as a Crow in 2007, there is no way Walker would be able to even consider wearing teal, black and white. Nor would anyone in power at Alberton seriously be able to mount an internal argument that Walker should be targeted.

Just as Essendon was prepared last off-season to recruit Todd Goldstein, who will turn 36 next month, to fill a need, so too may some clubs consider adding a well-aged key forward.

Collingwood may be an option, depending on the injuries to Jamie Elliott and Dan McStay. Geelong has recently headed down a youth path, but since 2004 has never entered a season without believing it could win a premiership. With Tom Hawkins' likely retirement, might Walker be considered to fill that role?

Melbourne's forward line has been a mess since winning the 2021 premiership. Its problems in attack have largely contributed to the consecutive straight-sets finals exits of the past two years. Given the medical retirement of Angus Brayshaw, the unknown around Christian Petracca after his horrific King's Birthday injuries, and the form slump of Clayton Oliver, the Demons already have big decisions to make heading into 2025. But they would seemingly benefit from having Walker positioned inside 50.

Taylor Walker fends off Caleb Windsor's tackle in Adelaide's clash with Melbourne in round four, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Nick Larkey, like Walker in 2024 an All-Australian forward, has been physically destroyed at times this season, with little big-man forward line help coming his way at North Melbourne. The Roos would have much better structure up forward if they were to add Walker.

Ben King has more than established himself as the main target inside Gold Coast's forward line operations, and teenager Jed Walter, clearly, has been identified as a player of the future. Both would learn immeasurably if Walker was to play alongside them.

Essendon might be a longshot, but if it felt that 2025 and 2026 would be THE hitting zone for a premiership tilt, might it consider adding another proven, albeit ageing, big name from another club?

Taylor Walker celebrates a goal during Adelaide's clash with Essendon in round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Should he fail to reach fresh terms with the Crows, there would be multiple options for Walker.

Currently sidelined with a back injury, Walker expects to return after the Crows' bye, against GWS in round 16. Like his team, he has struggled in 2024, his 17 goals from 11 games well down on the 76 he kicked from 22 last year.


Walker has had more than 1000 shots at goal, 629 of those shots being goals, in his AFL career. In 2016 and 2017, he was voted the AFL Players Association's best captain.  

Sometimes, players and clubs who have shared long relationships simply benefit from a parting. And depending on how club powerbrokers judge expectations for 2025, it may be deemed that the Crows need to invest more responsibility in Darcy Fogarty and Riley Thilthorpe, who has not played this season due to a knee injury.

Where, or if, Walker fits in to the Crows' 2025 plans will be determined in the next six to eight weeks. There may be an – albeit well-used – gun for hire on the open market.

X: @barrettdamian