ADELAIDE will be without captain Taylor Walker and midfielder Brad Crouch for the club’s opening round match against Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
Walker is sidelined with a foot injury that forced him to miss the JLT Community Series, while Crouch also didn’t play in the pre-season due to an abdominal strain.
“I was very close, it just comes down to I haven’t had enough conditioning in my body to be able to play my role,” said Walker.
“I personally think if I go out there Friday night I won’t be able to help the team because I’m not conditioned enough, so I’d be letting the team down.”
“I’ll do a session on Saturday morning and there’s a couple of us that will do that in preparation to play next week.”
“(Playing Richmond in round two) is definitely my target.”
Crows general manager of high performance Matt Hass said Walker was close to selection.
“Taylor strained his plantar fascia about six weeks ago and since then he has done everything he could to get up in time for round one,” Hass said.
“He started training with the main group last week and looked really good.”
“Unfortunately, he hasn’t quite done enough to be available for round one.”
“It’s a long season and given the importance of Taylor to our group we didn’t think it was worth the risk.”
“He will build up his training loads with the aim of being available for round two.”
Walker’s injury looks certain to open the door for Darcy Fogarty – last year’s number 12 overall draft pick – to make his AFL debut.
Fogarty impressed in the final JLT hit-out against Port Adelaide at Alberton Oval on March 10, kicking three first-half goals.
Walker expressed confidence that Adelaide had sufficient depth to cover the players that were sidelined.
“We spoke as a group the other day about why we’re in good shape; one of the reasons is we’ve got depth in our squad,” said Walker.
“Through people missing out it creates opportunity.”