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Crows bullish on Walker as Thilthorpe set for comeback

Adelaide spearhead Taylor Walker is bullish about returning from injury as Riley Thilthorpe prepares for his first game since pre-season knee surgery.

Walker missed training on Wednesday for personal reasons, but coach Matthew Nicks expects him to play against GWS on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval.

The Crows’ all-time leading goalkicker hasn’t played since suffering a back injury and being substituted at halftime of the June 1 loss to Hawthorn.

“It’s a slightly modified week for him, but we have got to see that he’s ready to go,” Nicks told reporters.

“And he has to know that too in himself, but we will make that call come captain’s run on Friday and then see how he pulls up Saturday.

“We’re pretty confident that he’s going to be OK.

“He’s done a ton of work to get himself right and we’ve been very deliberate with that, we didn’t want to rush it.

“He wants to go out and perform, he wants to make the side better, so he’s made some decisions over the last few weeks for the team and he’ll do that again this week.”

Thilthorpe is set for a state league comeback after injuring a knee in the final quarter of Adelaide’s last trial game in early March.

The 21-year-old forward-ruck had been rated the Crows’ best pre-season performer until tearing the lateral meniscus in his left knee.

“Riley has done everything we’ve asked of him to this point, so everything goes well today and then later in the week, he will play this weekend at SANFL level,” Nicks said.

“We feel it’s really important that he gets back and gets some footy under his belt.

“He has ticked every box. He’s the ultimate pro when it comes to his rehab, and that’s why he’s in a good position at the moment.

“From a coaching point of view, you just have your fingers crossed that he goes well and he comes in confident and plays some good footy at the lower level.”

The Crows host the Giants after a bye weekend when the club took further stock while heading towards a seventh consecutive season of missing finals.

Nicks’ side sit in 15th spot with four wins, 14 premiership points shy of eighth place.

“This is really a chance for us to physically and mentally refresh ourselves, maybe just a small chat about what the second half of the season is the chance to do – and that is to get back to our best, finish really strong,” Nicks he said.

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