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Rutten succession plan yet to form: Hartigan

Adelaide Crows Ben Rutten with the ball during the 2013 AFL Round 16 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Adelaide Crows at the MCG, Melbourne on July 12, 2013. (Photo: David Callow/AFL Media)
The Crows have yet to discuss a plan to replace Ben Rutten at full back
Ben’s been around for a long time, he's got a wealth of experience
Kyle Hartigan on Ben Rutten

ADELAIDE defender Kyle Hartigan hasn’t seen a succession plan to replace veteran Ben Rutten as the club's number one full back.

Rutten intimated last year that he'd look to be managed through the 2014 season, allowing Hartigan increased game time at full back.

However Hartigan said coach Brenton Sanderson hadn't yet revealed a plan for the key defensive post would be shared.

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"Once games start we'll talk more about what we're going to do this year, but it all comes down form," Hartigan said.

"I just need to focus on learning as much as I can from 'Truck'. [I don't need to] wrestle it away from him or anything like that, I just need to play good footy and what happens will happen.

"Ben’s been around for a long time, he's got a wealth of experience so if I can learn half of what he knows while he's still here, that'll be really good for me."

Out of contract at the end of 2014, there's a chance it could be 30-year-old Rutten’s last season as a player at West Lakes.

Hartigan and fellow defender Rory Laird were both promoted to the senior list at last November's NAB AFL Draft, having originally been selected as rookies.

Laird was outstanding in his 18 games last year, earning a nomination for the NAB AFL Rising Star Award.

While he only managed three games, Hartigan too was impressive.

The pair both said they had increased their endurance over the pre-season, allowing them to better run out games, free from cramp.

Given the expected competition in defence, with as many as 13 players vying for six spots, any advantage they can get will be needed.

Laird said there was an advantage in knowing exactly how his closest teammates played.

"Over last year especially…we got used to each other. We know the ins and outs of each other," Laird said.

"There is a benefit in having the familiar faces there, so I think we're slowly getting used to how each other plays.

"Every game that we play together, it just gets easier."

Twitter: @AFL_Harry