A visit to Melbourne Storm back in 2015 has helped AFL premiership contenders Adelaide Crows set the tone for their leadership blueprint writes the Herald Sun's Russell Gould.
IT was a sweltering January day in 2015 and Billy Slater was barking instructions to his teammates at the top of his voice.
Melbourne Storm had been shunted off to the ovals at Xavier College for pre-season training because of soccer’s Asian Cup and despite the summer heat, there was no let up from the then 31-year-old superstar.
Coach Craig Bellamy’s men were coming off an ugly end to the previous season, bundled out in the first week of the finals by the Bulldogs in 2014.
It may have been just January, and it may have been oppressively hot, but standards aren’t allowed to slip at Storm, and those standards are driven by leaders like Slater and captain Cameron Smith.
That obsessive intensity, even at training, was the standout takeaway for a quartet of interested observers who had flown over from Adelaide early that morning to spend a day watching Slater and Smith and Cooper Cronk and Bellamy go about their business.
In the previous June, Bellamy and Storm football manager Frank Ponissi, always looking to learn from others, had spent their bye week visiting AFL club Port Adelaide.
They were “blown away” by then Power assistant coach Phil Walsh, who later that year was given his first senior coaching position, at the Adelaide Crows.
Walsh had sprung a major surprise when he appointed Taylor Walker as his first Crows captain — even Walker didn’t nominate himself when asked who should lead Adelaide — and wanted his new skipper to get a sense of how the best leaders can create a culture of success.
So Walker, along with Rory Sloane and Nathan Van Berlo flew over with Walsh for a full day at Storm headquarters...