BRODIE Smith has taken a subtle dig at Taylor Walker's critics, saying the Adelaide key forward's struggles owe mostly to how the ball is being kicked to him.
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Walker remains a lightning rod for criticism as the Crows suffered a fifth defeat in as many games on Sunday, against a Fremantle side that hadn't won until then.
The 30-year-old former skipper- who is set to miss 1-2 weeks with a knee injury - was an obvious target, after being held goalless for the second time this season and winning only six possessions.
"I think someone's going to be critical of Tex every week, no matter what he does. It's something we're getting used to," Smith said.
"We obviously love what Tex brings. He had a good game against Brisbane (two weekends ago), and our fundamentals going forward have been really poor.
"As a key forward, if we're not kicking the footy to the space he creates or where he wants it, then how is he going to do his job? It falls back on us to deliver the footy to him.
"But we know Tex is working really hard on his game."
Smith was one of Adelaide's best players in the 20-point defeat to the Dockers, but even he had five turnovers, which he said was an issue across the board.
That spoiled the fact the Crows won more clearances and contested possessions than Fremantle.
"If we kick a bit better on the weekend, we win the game – it's as simple as that," Smith said.
"Going forward, we don't want to do all the hard work and win the hard stuff then let ourselves down on the outside with our skills."
Adelaide officials elected not to appeal Lachie Murphy's one-game ban for a 'dangerous tackle' on Adam Cerra, but Smith said it was still a grey area for players.
"He's a bit shattered that he's copped a week," Smith said.
"There's been a few instances where it's hard to judge, but we do have to protect the head. You don't want guys knocked out and sling-tackled, those sort of things.
"But, at the same time, we still want that physicality – and I thought it was a good tackle."
Tyson Stengle, who has completed his four-game suspension for drink driving, looms as Murphy's replacement.