Crows head coach Matthew Nicks has called for call regarding the arrested development of young defender Fischer McAsey.

Having walked through the doors at West Lakes after being plucked with the 6th pick of the 2019 National Draft, the now 21-year-old Victorian has made little imprint at AFL level throughout his brief tenure across the border.

After making his senior debut during Round 1 of the Covid-shortened 2020 season, McAsey has not been sighted in the top flight across each of the past pair of seasons, donning a Crows guernsey on just 10 occasions.

Though the Crows' expectations were naturally high on McAsey after parting with a blue-chip pick to land the 197cem defender, Nicks held his hands up on SEN SA Breakfast radio, stressing a need for patience from the club's flock of fanatics.

“It’s not that it hasn’t worked necessarily. The expectation is huge when you’re a top 10 pick, so there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that, especially in a town like Adelaide where we are passionate about our footy,” Nicks delineated.

“For Fischer, it has been a pretty tough road. He’s put his head down, he’s working so hard to get his game back to certain levels.

“Now, there were a number of reasons why early it wasn’t working for him. Things happening off-field, a couple of challenges that he was faced with, but in saying that he’s started working really hard on his footy."

AFL Rd 6 - West Coast v Adelaide
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Fischer McAsey of the Crows challenges for the mark during the round 6 AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Adelaide Crows at The Gabba on July 11, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

However, with the Crows forced into another rebuilding phase following the fallout of their disastrous, and reportedly torturous, pre-season camp in 2018, Nicks was under no illusions regarding the current landscape.

“I understand the attention that comes around it with the high pick, the pressure that’s on him to perform," the 47-year-old added.

“As a footy club, we’re doing everything with him at the moment in terms of working around his game.

“He’s an important part of why (our SANFL team) is about to go into a finals series and they could be finishing top of the ladder."

As the long-held footy proverb has asserted, key position stocks often take longer than their shorter-statured peers to develop - something Nicks was happy to expand on, using the rise of mustachioed forward Darcy Fogarty as a contemporary success story for the club.

“We’ll continue to try and work and improve. I think what we have seen when you talk about players and the pressure of SA, Darcy Fogarty for example, we’ve now seen it click, it does take time and it’s different for different players with how long it takes for it to click at AFL level," Nicks divulged.

“Darcy has shown that with the work put in the reward will come and he’s in a position where he’s playing good footy.”

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16: Darcy Fogarty of the Crows kicks a goal during the 2021 AFL Round 09 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Adelaide Crows at Optus Stadium on May 16, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Though Nicks' public defence is sure to warm McAsey's cockles as he continues plying his trade in the SANFL, his eventual AFL announcement may yet come outside the City of Churches.

As first reported by Mark Stevens on RSN, McAsey, a Sandringham Dragons product, has been strongly linked with a shift back to his state of origin and a fresh start with Carlton. 

While McAsey's teeth were originally cut as a key stopper - a fact that is sure to have piqued the Blues' interest - the youngster has spent the vast majority of his 2022 season as a forward, slotting 15 majors from 16 starts in the SANFL.

Still, given the re-signing of Elliott Himmelberg on Wednesday morning, as well as the steadied emergences of Riley Thilthorpe and Fogarty, exactly how McAsey fits within the offensive frame remains a mystery.

What is known is that McAsey remains contracted to the Crows until the cessation of the 2023 season.

The Crows' current campaign is set to close following their Saturday night Showdown against bitter rivals Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval.