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Crow on the rise

Capable Crow Daniel Talia is the round 12 NAB AFL Rising Star
Daniel Talia has grown into a dependable key defender at Adelaide

THE AFL's expansion into Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney has had an impact throughout the football landscape, not least of all on Adelaide's key defensive stocks.

All Australian defender Nathan Bock was one of the first uncontracted Gold Coast signings, while less than a year later Phil Davis was the first AFL player to publicly declare he would join GWS.

The departures of Bock and Davis looked set to significantly weaken the Crows' back half but instead have opened a window of opportunity for a youngster who may have otherwise had to wait for his chance.

Daniel Talia has played every game for the Crows this year after playing the final nine matches last season.

His consistent defensive efforts have culminated in a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination for his performance in Adelaide's win over St Kilda on Friday night.

Talia, who was snared by the Crows with their first round pick at the 2009 NAB AFL Draft - No.13 overall - admits Bock and Davis' departures helped fast-track his own development.

"When I first got to the club there were a lot of really talented backmen like Phil and Nathan as well as 'Truck' (Ben Rutten) and Scott Stevens. I was wondering how I'd ever get into this side, I'm that far back," Talia said.

"Things worked out well for me, not that we wanted to lose Phil and Nathan or have Scott retire, but that all happened pretty quickly and I suppose I was forced to play really early because the spot was open.

"I took that opportunity with both hands and I still want to consolidate my spot back there and I'm grateful I've got the opportunity now."

Click here to view Talia's career stats

Talia had the ultimate responsibility on Friday night with the fast-finishing Saints closing the margin on Adelaide as the game drew to a close.

With Nick Riewoldt by his side, Talia knew there was every chance the Saints captain would be a crucial part of any St Kilda challenge.

"Opposition teams always have their go-to forward and I knew when the game got tight it was going to come to Nick a lot. I was trying to lock him down as much as possible and stop him from getting the ball," he said.

Talia kept Riewoldt to just nine disposals and two goals but he is the first to acknowledge Riewoldt's calf problems played a part in his quiet night.

"He was hobbling around a bit and I know he had some sort of injury, I can't tell you the details. That always helps a bit, as bad as that is to say," he said.

"He's a quality player and he fought through it and still played pretty well."

Talia is not the type to get numbers ticking over on the stats sheet himself. He gathered only seven touches against the Saints and his disposal tally hasn't reached double figures since round three.

But statistics can be misleading and Talia's contribution to the team can't necessarily be measured on the statistics sheet - a point reflected in a nickname from his teammates.

"Michael Doughty and Brent Reilly have given me the nickname 'Presti' (after former Collingwood defender Simon Prestigiacomo) because they were saying I get more spoils than kicks most games," he said.

"That's kind of stuck and I've been getting called Presti a fair bit. He was a great player though and I'd love to be as good a backman as he was. I suppose I focus on my defensive game rather than get possessions. If I can keep my man quiet then I'm playing my role for the team."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of the AFL or the clubs