ADELAIDE assistant coach Scott Burns wasn't surprised by Taylor Walker's immediate impact after kicking four goals upon his return to the side in Sunday's loss to Essendon following suspension.
Walker starred for the Crows in Sunday's four-point defeat with a goal in each quarter, including a fine left-foot snap to bring the margin back to four points with five minutes to go in the last term.
The 31-year-old forward had not played since round 20 last year after being banned for six AFL games, in addition to Adelaide's pre-season games, for a racial comment.
The former Crows captain, who was booed throughout by the Essendon crowd at Marvel Stadium, finished with 18 disposals, six marks, seven inside 50s, one goal assist and four majors.
"For me, it wasn't surprising," Burns told reporters on Monday morning. "He's a terrifically hard trainer, extremely professional.
"Even though he hadn't played games, he'd been fit. There were no injuries to his legs. He'd done a lot of the pre-season, a lot of the match sim.
"He's got history over his career that he can perform at the top level. He was terrific last year for us, and he certainly started pretty well in his first game back.
"A lot of that is to do with being physically prepared. He had a lot of confidence in his body that he'd done the work, so that helps."
Walker combined with fellow tall forward Elliott Himmelberg and Lachlan Gollant for seven goals for the Crows, likely keeping Darcy Fogarty and Riley Thilthorpe out of the side, despite the latter kicking three goals in Adelaide's 38-point SANFL win over North Adelaide on Saturday.
Burns pointed to Will Hamill, Ben Davis and Patrick Parnell as players putting pressure on via the SANFL for a game in the seniors, while Jackson Hately (35 disposals) and Sam Berry (26 disposals) have been in good form.
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Wayne Milera was starting to mount a case via the SANFL having returned in the AFL underdone in round one after two injury-ruined seasons before being dropped.
"By all reports, it was probably one of his better games he's played since he's gone back," Burns said about Milera's display against North Adelaide.
"That's another three or four weeks he's put together which is a bonus having not played for two years. But there's some really good players underneath … The match committee will look closer to that tomorrow."
Burns said the Crows were yet to get any certainty on Mitch Hinge's availability for their round five game with Richmond on Saturday after coming off on Sunday with a hip pointer issue.
The Adelaide assistant also said they would not rush Paul Seedsman's return from ongoing concussion symptoms, while Andrew McPherson picked up a knock in the SANFL.