Taylor Walker has returned to Adelaide training as he tries to rebuild relationships and his reputation after being suspended for a racist slur.
Taylor Walker has returned to West Lakes to train for the first time since his suspension for using a racist slur.
Walker, who was rubbed out for six games for racial vilification, joined the club’s first-to-fourth-year players at the club.
The 31-year-old veteran forward arrived almost two hours before training to mix with the younger brigade and join their warm-up session.
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The Crows star walked out of the changerooms alongside Indigenous player Wayne Milera – who is recovering from a torn patella suffered last year.
Walker then warmed up next to Tariek Newchurch as the Crows were put through their paces by new high performance manager Darren Burgess.
Speaking before training, Walker conceded he was nervous prior to taking to the track.
Walker said his early return was as much about repairing relationships with his teammates, rather than improving his fitness.
“I’ve kept in constant contact with them (his Indigenous teammates) over the off-season and seen them quite a bit,” he told 7NEWS.
“It’s not where it was six months ago but I have been doing a lot of work to get it back to that stage and I’m looking forward to continuing that.”
Walker looked fit during the pre-season training sessions, which was no surprise to teammate Ben Keays.
“He was received really well by the group, he trained really well,” Keays said.
“We’ve been doing some training with him in big groups over the off-season anyway.
“I thought he trained really well and he is already having his normal presence over the group.
“Business as usual… he has been around the group the whole off-season.”
The AFL banned the former Crows captain for six games in August after it emerged he had made a racist slur towards North Adelaide player Robbie Young at three-quarter time of a SANFL match.
Walker served three matches and would not be due to play again until Round 4 next year.
When he did cop the sanction, Walker addressed Crows teammates before taking time away from the club.
This included the Crows end of season celebrations, but Walker was able to attend Adelaide’s Club Champion award after a decision by the playing group.
At the Club Champion award night, Adelaide senior coach Matthew Nicks used his speech to say that Walker was required at the Crows in 2022 – to the applause of the crowd present.
As well as the six game ban, Walker was also forced to pay $20,000 to a South Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander charity and undergo education.
Speaking for the first time after the ban Walker said he would go to regional areas as part of his education.
Separate to this he took up an invitation by the Crows Indigenous Programs to go out to Port Augusta, where he was pictured with locals.
Nicks and Crows captain Rory Sloane have both said they are confident Walker will be able to integrate with the Adelaide group.
Originally published as Tex Walker returns to Crows training for first time after Robbie Young racism row