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Golden run from Crows new gun

- RICHARD EARLE

PHIL Walsh’s prototype Crow Rory Laird is making a miraculous surge from rookie list to gold jacket status.

Adelaide boss Walsh has revealed new “Mr Fixit” Laird topped Crows’ voting from all coaches in three games this year before blitzing against Carlton and Hawthorn.

Key defender Nathan Bock climbed from the rookie list in 2002 to win the Crows club champion gong six years later.

However Laird, 21, is threatenin­g to win the coveted gold jacket just three years after being taken at No. 5 in the AFL rookie draft.

“It is the most consistent footy I have played at AFL level,” said 21-year-old Laird, having penned a three-year deal to remain at West Lakes until 2018.

“It was my goal to come back in the team and lock down a position and it has gone from there.”

Laird, averaging 23 touches per game this campaign, stands out for marked skill improvemen­t in a side with five losses principall­y attributed to inferior kicking efficiency.

Having improved kicking in the off-season Laird is now ranked No. 1 at Adelaide for disposal efficiency at 81 per cent.

By contrast the Crows are ranked No. 17 for disposal efficiency at 69.6 and No. 16 at 62.8 for kicking efficiency.

“I worked a bit on my kicking with a few of the coaches which was an area to improve and it is kind of showing on game day a bit,” said Laird, restricted to 16 games last year by back and hamstring injuries.

“I changed technique a bit with the coaches which is basically what I put it down to.”

Laird wins possession though intercept marks or at ground level — Walsh’s pet focus since arriving at the Crows.

He has recorded 42 ground ball intercepts which is ranked No. 3 in the competitio­n with Walsh providing the confidence to take the game on. richard.earle@news.com.au

 ?? Picture: SARAH REED ?? HARD WORKER: Rory Laird, who has signed a three-year contract extension at West Lakes, improved his kicking efficiency in the off-season.
Picture: SARAH REED HARD WORKER: Rory Laird, who has signed a three-year contract extension at West Lakes, improved his kicking efficiency in the off-season.

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