Veteran AFL forward Stewart Crameri has broken down in tears recalling the pain he suffered after being denied the chance to partake in the Western Bulldogs’ 2016 premiership win.
Crameri was signed for the Bulldogs two years prior to their fairytale triumph against the Sydney Swans in 2016.
However, after putting pen to paper with the Bulldogs before the 2014 season, Crameri later found out that he would miss the entire 2016 season as part of the 34-strong group of Essendon players banned over the supplements scandal.
Crameri fought back tears on Fox Footy’s On The Mark programme on Wednesday night when speaking about what impact the ordeal had on himself, his loved ones and friends.
The former Bulldogs forward says not being able to contribute to the club’s momentous grand final win was the hardest part.
“I realised halfway through the last quarter that the boys were actually going to do it (win the flag) and it was quite hard to watch,” an emotional Crameri said as he choked back tears.
“I just felt like I should’ve been there and should’ve been playing, but I wasn’t.
“I wasn’t angry as such, I was more so happy for them but so sad I couldn’t be part of it.”
Crameri, who now plies his trade for Geelong, got married the day before the grand final but was barred from attending the MCG as part of his ban.
The 29-year-old said watching the big game with family and friends on TV was an overwhelming rollercoaster of emotions.
“I went out to the front and said, ‘I just need five minutes to reflect on it, be upset, whatever you have to be.’
“Just to make sure I can come back and not be upset about it and when I see the guys I’m really happy for them and go on from there.
“Watching that last bit was tough, but there’s many stories of people missing out on Grand Finals as well.”
Crameri said he found therapy from a football program that he and several other banned Bombers participated in during that tumultuous 2016 season.
“All I wanted to do was train and that was probably my psychologist.
“I would train everyday – it didn’t matter how bad I felt or upset I felt, I’d always turn up to that day.