Club champion Matt Crouch is the youngest and newest member of the Crows leadership group. Picture: NAOMI JELLICOE
Club champion Matt Crouch is the youngest and newest member of the Crows leadership group. Picture: NAOMI JELLICOE

Leadership role will fast-track my game: Crouch

MATT Crouch says his new leadership post - and the arrival of Bryce Gibbs from Carlton - can make him an even more formidable player.

A surprise selection in Adelaide's new four-man leadership brigade for 2018, Crouch - the Crows' club champion and a first-time All-Australian last year - described being included alongside captain Taylor Walker, who has been appointed skipper for a fourth consecutive year, vice-captain Roy Sloane and Tom Lynch as "a big honour''.

And the 22-year-old who was once considered shy and reserved vowed the extra pressure would not hinder his progress but help him reach greater heights.

Adelaide’s new leadership group - Tom Lynch (left), vice-captain Rory Sloane, captain Taylor Walker and Matt Crouch. Picture: Supplied
Adelaide’s new leadership group - Tom Lynch (left), vice-captain Rory Sloane, captain Taylor Walker and Matt Crouch. Picture: Supplied

"I think it can help me get better,'' said midfield ball magnet Crouch, who last season led the AFL in disposals with 825 at an average of 33 - the highest average in Crows history.

"I feel that I've made some steps to become a better leader and that I can make a difference in that area for the club.

"I'm confident going forward that I can continue to play well and that the main part of leadership is to lead by example and play your role on game day.

"With Gibbs on board, I feel we are getting a lot of depth through our midfield now and that can only help us all get better.''

Crouch is the only newcomer to a Crows leadership brigade slashed from six last year to four.

Defender Daniel Talia, dynamic small forward Eddie Betts and just-retired Scott Thompson fall out.

There was no main leadership post for Gibbs, who had been in Carlton's leadership group.

Matt Crouch of the Crows in action during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match against Fremantle at Strathalbyn on Sunday. Picture: James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images
Matt Crouch of the Crows in action during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match against Fremantle at Strathalbyn on Sunday. Picture: James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images

Adelaide head of football Brett Burton said nothing untoward should be read into Talia's and Betts' demotion, saying the club had gone through a leadership restructure where more players (as many as 20) would be exposed to leadership duties.

Player leadership was voted on by the players with input from key management figures.

"We want to expose more of our players to leadership, so we've got some leadership portfolios this year that are important to us and those guys (Talia and Betts) are a part of that,'' Burton said.

"We firmly believe this new approach maximises the impact and influence each individual can make to our program, but also fast tracks their leadership development.''

Coach Don Pyke, who last week was angered at suggestions the Crows could take the captaincy from Walker and hand it to Sloane to keep the ace free agent at the club, hailed his new leadership group.

"They were recognised for their ability to live our values and behaviours, drive standards and maintain a consistent level of performance, both on and off the field," Pyke said.

"Taylor, Rory and Tom set a great example last season and Matt's elevation reinforces the progress he has made in the past couple of years."


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