ADELAIDE has reiterated that it wants Taylor Walker to see out his contract with the club and play into season 2021, with coach Matthew Nicks revealing he called the former skipper earlier this week to stress his importance to the side's rebuild.
Walker, who is set to play his 200th game in Sunday's clash with Geelong, threw his future with the Crows into doubt earlier this week when he said he would seek clarity over his role this summer.
Contracted for next season, the 30-year-old's influence in the Adelaide forward line has waned this season. He has kicked just 11 goals from 10 matches, while he is averaging career-lows for disposals and marks.
With the Crows embracing a youthful rebuild throughout a winless 2020 campaign thus far, with defender Jordon Butts set to become the club's ninth debutant of the season on Sunday, Walker said he was unsure how he would fit into their plans next year.
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"I'm contracted for next year and I've always said I'd love to honour my contract," Walker said earlier this week.
"(But) I understand the realistic part of our football club is we're going through a transition phase and I think that conversations will need to be had at the end of the year.
"I'll ask the question because I'd like to know the answer. That's what happens when you're unsure, you ask questions and you get answers."
The comments immediately triggered a response from Nicks, who called the veteran forward to emphasise his value to the team.
"Of course, we do (want Walker to play into season 2021)," Nicks said.
"We had a chat. Straightaway, I saw the article, so I made a quick phone call. I said, 'you know we value you'. He said, 'yeah I know … (the comments) were just about what's my role and so on'.
"He's an incredibly valuable member of our team and he will be next year. It will be an interesting season for him, because he wants to leave a legacy at this club – and he will – but it's how he goes about that into next year.
"He's got some amazing young players coming through underneath him, but he's an incredible role model. He'll be a very important part of next year."
Walker, a two-time AFL Players' Association Best Captain winner, has led the club's goalkicking charts in three separate seasons and booted 54 goals to inspire Adelaide's Grand Final berth in 2017.
According to Nicks, he still has a pivotal role to play in the development of the club's young key forwards – including dual first-round NAB AFL Draft picks Darcy Fogarty and Fisher McAsey.
"He's one of the most passionate footballers I've worked with," Nicks said.
"He's for the team, for the club, for everything that the Crows family is. He can't hide that passion, he says it how it is and he just does everything to the letter. He goes hard, he trains hard and he just loves his teammates.
"That's the legacy. He's an amazing team member."