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Forward or back, Pods covers all bases

James Podsiadly of the Crows celebrates a goal during the 2014 AFL round 02 match between Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide on March 29, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Kyle Hartigan says recruit James Podsiadly has offered valuable advice to Adelaide's defenders
JAMES Podsiadly has been valuable to Adelaide on match days in 2014, averaging more than a goal and three inside 50s a game while providing crucial contests in attack in the absence of Taylor Walker.

But as a 32-year-old premiership-winning recruit, the greatest benefit of Podsiadly's arrival at West Lakes was always going to be felt off the field. 

Podsiadly's knowledge of the game has been passed on to the Crows' key forwards, but he's also helped the development of the club's key defenders.

Kyle Hartigan was a standout in defence for Adelaide last weekend against Greater Western Sydney, teaming up with Daniel Talia and Sam Shaw to restrict tall trio Tom Boyd, Jonathon Patton and Jeremy Cameron to a combined three goals.

Hartigan took five intercept marks against the Giants, and credited Podsiadly and fellow experienced recruit Eddie Betts for helping fast-track the club's young backline.

"'Pods' has been a great mentor, he's been around for a long time – I sit down and do my edits (game review) with 'Pods' every week and he goes through and gives me the forward's aspect of my positioning," Hartigan said.

"I know for Luke Brown, Rory Laird over the pre-season coming to training and playing on Eddie Betts, one of the best small forwards in the game, every training session gives you every confidence when you go out and play.

"Them coming into the club and passing on their knowledge and being able to play on the good players has really benefited our group."

Without 30-year-old Ben Rutten, 22-year-old Talia is the club's next most experienced key defender with just 59 games to his name.

The 22-year-old Hartigan has played six games, while Shaw, 23, has played 19. 

Crows coach Brenton Sanderson described the trio's performance against the Giants as a "really important step for us and our future".

Hartigan feels the versatility of Adelaide's inexperienced defensive unit could see it become something "special".

"We're only going to get better [with] the more games we play together," Hartigan said.

"It was really good to have all three of us there; 'Tails' (Talia) was outstanding again and shut down Cameron.

"Pretty much all of us can play on talls and medium-sized [players], 'Shawry's' great offensively – got a great kick – and so does Talia.

"The way Brodie Smith is coming along, Luke Brown – they're young blokes as well – so the way that backline's developing is pretty special."