Last night, that larrikin forward was declared the league’s best captain in a poll of all players at the AFL Players Association’s annual awards in Melbourne.
Walker has led his side to the major round twice in succession, both times despite ominous setbacks – last year the unprecedented mid-season loss of Walsh, followed swiftly by the departure of Patrick Dangerfield, whose outstanding season for Geelong saw him last night crowned the runaway Most Valuable Player.
Walker, 26, finished with 127 votes, ahead of evergreen Saints spearhead Nick Riewoldt on 111 and GWS co-captain Callan Ward on 109.
Walker said he was “absolutely rapt and honoured” to win the peer-voted award.
“I cast my mind back two years ago when I sat down and had a discussion with Phil Walsh,” he said in a club statement.
“I was very hesitant to take on the job, but fast forward two years and I’m very happy that I took the role… a big thank you to Phil Walsh, who showed a lot of faith in me and a lot of trust.”
Walker’s award came on a big night for SA football, as Sturt captain Zane Kirkwood claimed his second Magarey Medal as the state league’s most outstanding player.
Looking good Sturt!! #MagareyMoments #sanfl #players #partners pic.twitter.com/9UMHaNpaUU
— Sturt Football Club (@SturtFC) September 13, 2016
Kirkwood’s 24 votes put him five clear of Eagle Nick O’Brien.
Port Adelaide legend Stephen Williams and premiership star Roger James were both inducted into the SA Football Hall of Fame.
Williams, part of a bloodline that represents Alberton royalty, was a nine-time premiership star for the Magpies, as well as coaching them to three premierships in the ‘90s.
James was a pivotal part of the Power midfield that dominated the competition in the early 2000s before finally snaring an elusive premiership in ’04.
The other Hall of Fame inductees were onetime North Magarey medallist, Sturt coach and current junior mentor Brenton Phillips, former Norwood premiership captain John Wynne and the Adelaide Crows’ inaugural and long-serving club doctor, who joined the club after a long stint with Norwood, the late Brian Sando.
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