AFL Rd 3 - Adelade v Geelong
AFL Rd 3 - Adelade v Geelong

Talia says Crows can beat adversity again

Having endured more than its share of club tragedy Daniel Talia believes Adelaide is hardwired to confront the fallout of a devastating Wuhan virus pandemic.

Talia, 28, has been at ground zero of crises since arriving at West Lakes including the Kurt Tippett salary cap breach, unspeakable passing of coach Phil Walsh, post-2017 grand final meltdown then family losses striking skipper Rory Sloane and Taylor Walker.

The AFL's season suspension until May 31 - at the earliest - has hurt staff, players and fans alike but won't break the club he loves.

"I think we are well equipped as a club to get through it and we are pretty close which will help through this period," 187-game veteran Talia told the Sunday Mail.

 

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"I think dealing with past events and being resilient through them will help the playing group. Being able to stay in touch and check in on each other will be the main thing.

"We are a really resilient group especially the older guys. You have Sloaney and Tex and all of these guys who have been through a lot not only personally but the club as well.

"This ranks right up there."

While Adelaide is accustomed to adversity, surviving a year where the club's $60 million annual turnover is wiped won't mean business as usual.

Players are taking 50 cent pay cuts this season which could become the new normal.

Administration and football department staff will be significantly reduced.

"It is just such a different situation, everyone is affected in different ways," said Talia.

"It is the first time I have been involved in something like this, for 80 per cent of the club to be taken off the books and other 20 per cent to be not working for two months.

"It is an uncertain, nerve-racking time but the people in place, Adam Kelly the head of footy, are doing the best they can.

"It is a very challenging period not being at work as it is for the majority of the workforce."

Job losses are confronting but Talia understands the view of Crows 1997-98 premiership messiah Malcolm Blight who believes the game has become too structured and scrutinised.

"There will be a lot less staff, analysts. I think the game is over analysed, a lot of media, everything associated," said Talia.

"It will feel more like a local footy club where you have one main assistant coach for each line.

"It will be up to guys to prepare. It could be a good thing for the game long term but in terms of people losing jobs it will be pretty sad.

"I don't think it is the correction we have to have but the situation that has been dealt.

"I know a lot of older style blokes like Malcolm Blight and Leigh Matthews have come out and said the game is too rigid and not enough freedom."

Talia has long planned for life after football but isn't immune from financial head winds. Players work on financial assumptions. A sudden drop in pay can cost young guns their first house or compromise property development commitments like Talia's.

Daniel Talia during the 2019 season. Picture: Sarah Reed.
Daniel Talia during the 2019 season. Picture: Sarah Reed.

"Everyone is in the same boat with the pay cut we have taken. We are not crying or whinging about it as we know the majority of the population is a lot worse off than us," said Talia, who has been doting on six-month old daughter Ivy during the AFL recess.

"You hope you can ride it out. There are guys who might have to sell. We are in a lucky position we are still getting some pay."

AFL players are often accused of living in a bubble but Talia can't be pigeonholed. The dual Australian defender pursued tertiary study and serious property development in his early 20s when some peers were still preoccupied with video games.

"I am doing some study in a Bachelor of business and property and have a keen interest in the share market as well," said 2014 Crows club champion Talia.

"I always loved walking around streets, looking at places and ideas of designing or building. I have always enjoyed the property market.

"To put my hand up and have a crack at it before the age of 30 is pretty rare."

Freshly appointed leadership and development manager Daniel Jackson, like Talia, brings a big picture view to West Lakes.

Former Richmond midfielder Jackson's addition is timely as a young list rebuilds while confronting the greatest disruption to a season since World War II.

"He has been amazing and has a different way of thinking coming from a successful club in Richmond and outside of footy as well," said Talia of Jackson who developed resilience strategies for underprivileged academy prodigies at English Premier League clubs including Manchester City, Southampton and Crystal Palace.

"He is able to pick up on little things.

The Crows have faced adversity before, following the death of coach Phil Walsh.
The Crows have faced adversity before, following the death of coach Phil Walsh.

"It might be picking up a water bottle or chewy you have thrown in the floor. It is those little things that build up and create a good team culture.

"You have seen that with Richmond over the last couple of years, all play for each other."

Talia believes Adelaide will emerge successfully from AFL's pandemic slumber with head coach Nicks as the ultimate driving force.

Player input to the Jason Dunstall review of Adelaide's football department last year identified a need for the skillset Nicks is delivering at West Lakes says Talia.

"He has been amazing, as hungry as all the players. His ability to communicate and get around the majority of players is something the younger group needed and something guys called for in the review," asserted Talia.

"His ability to get from player one to 44 has really stood out and we have a really aggressive game plan. It gives you the freedom to play."

On-field progress, insists Talia, will come from an emerging, gifted cohort.

"The club has some really good draft picks in, Fischer McAsey, Chayce Jones and Shane McAdam that are going to play a lot of footy for us and really improve," said Talia.

"We saw Port do it the last couple of years and Brisbane. I know the club is in that frame of thinking of getting games into young guys."

Originally published as Talia says Crows can beat adversity again


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