Crows sweating over Walker’s fitness after ‘substantial knock’ – AFL

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ADELAIDE will be sweating on the fitness of veteran Taylor Walker after he suffered a neck strain against Brisbane on Saturday, but coach Matthew Nicks is hopeful the veteran will be OK.

Walker was crunched in a nasty collision in the second quarter, after he slid at pace towards a contest and his head collided with the hip of Brisbane’s Daniel Rich.

The star forward struggled to get up after the incident and was later subbed out of the game.

He is set to be assessed in coming days, with his availability for next week’s game against Essendon now in doubt.

“He got quite a substantial knock to his neck, we were extremely concerned early but he’s been cleared (of concussion). Now we’ve just got to work through how his neck comes back,” Nicks said after the match.

“The decision was made for him not to play on … he couldn’t move his neck at all. But he’s OK, he’s just a little bit stiff and sore at the moment.

“We’re not sure (if he’ll have scans). It’s one they’ll probably let settle overnight and I’m sure they’ll have some (anti-inflammatories) to try and help him sleep through the night.”

After competing with Brisbane for much of Saturday’s contest, the Lions eventually steamrolled the Crows, kicking eight of the last nine goals of the match to win by 52 points.

Nicks was disappointed with his side’s fadeout in the second half, but said he was proud of the players’ efforts.

“The margin in the end, I didn’t feel represented the game at all. I think we fought it out well,” he said.

“We tried a number of things in the last quarter. We put Tom Doedee forward … (but) we weren’t able to give Tom or the key forwards quite enough opportunity.

“We (made some changes) but unfortunately against a really good side that is going to punish you for any mistakes … we’ve been exposed.”

CROWS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan meanwhile was also proud of his side, especially after enduring a tough lead-up to the game.

The Lions – who are currently based in Victoria due to COVID concerns – had fly-in and fly-out arrangement for Saturday’s game, which Fagan said was a challenge.

“(We had) an early rise at about 5:30-6 this morning, to fly over here for a COVID test, I think that’s our third COVID test in three days,” Fagan said.

“It was an unusual preparation for all the guys. Athletes are creatures of habit so it felt different today.

“It was a unique challenge but I think what we’ve developed as a team now is the capacity to play under any circumstances because they keep changing.

“They toughed it out tonight and it’s a good positive result for us.”

Fagan was also full of praise for Zac Bailey, who starred against the Crows with three goals, nine clearances and 26 touches.

“He’s grown this year, he’s certainly captured everyone’s imagination. His speed and agility is outstanding,” Fagan said.

“He’s starting to gain more of the ball himself as he gathers more confidence.

“He’s got to keep working away at his craft and learning from the good guys he’s got around him … he could well become one of the really good mids in the competition.”

Fagan added that Lachie Neale should be fine to play next week, after he was a late out against the Crows with a calf issue.

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