Taylor Adams in devastating scenes amid fresh debate over AFL premiership medals

Fans are calling for change amid a brutal reality for several players who didn't feature in the AFL grand final.

Taylor Adams was in tears after Collingwood's win over Brisbane in the AFL grand final. Image: Getty
Taylor Adams was in tears after Collingwood's win over Brisbane in the AFL grand final. Image: Getty

Taylor Adams looked a shattered man despite Collingwood's win over Brisbane in the AFL grand final on Saturday, after the veteran Magpie missed the decider due to a hamstring injury. Adams watched on from the sidelines as the Pies scored an epic 12.18 (90) to 13.8 (86) victory to secure their 16th premiership and first since 2010.

While Adams would have been rapt for his teammates and bursting with pride, he also would have been devastated to have missed the grand final. Adams was seen in tears after full-time as he embraced his victorious teammates.

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Collingwood coach Craig McRae had earlier revealed it was actually Adams' decision to miss the AFL grand final in a staggering act of selflessness. Adams has been a key cog in Collingwood's 2023 campaign, but missed the preliminary final last week due to a hamstring injury.

Taylor Adams, pictured here with Darcy Moore after Collingwood's win in the AFL grand final.
Taylor Adams hugs Darcy Moore after Collingwood's win in the AFL grand final. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

He was pushing to prove his fitness for Saturday's grand final win over Brisbane, but the Magpies announced on Tuesday that he hadn't recovered in time. McRae later revealed that it was Adams who made the selfless call and ruled himself out.

“Obviously Tay, he had some awareness in his hamstring at training yesterday,” McRae said on SEN radio. “Is it sacrificial? Whatever the language you want to use. He just doesn't feel he is quite right to put himself out there.

“He hasn't re-strained it, but he just has great body awareness. He just thinks he's not quite right and these things come along this time of year, don't they? That unfortunately for him is the same (as Dan McStay), we’ll put our love and support around those guys and among others.” Fans were left shattered for Adams amid the heartbreaking images of him in tears on Saturday.

Debate erupts over AFL grand final medals

Adams was pivotal in Collingwood's charge to the AFL premiership, and his absence from Saturday's decider at the MCG has re-ignited debate about who should received a medal when a team wins the flag. Traditionally, it's only the players who feature in the actual grand final who receive a premiership medal.

It means Adams doesn't get one, despite missing only a handful of games all season. Daniel McStay (injury) and John Noble (selection) also missed out despite playing big minutes throughout the year.

Discover more of our AFL finals coverage.

Discussing the situation this week, former Richmond captain Trent Cotchin said the AFL should follow what the NBA and MLB do in America and give a ring (or medal in this case) to everyone who features for the winning team throughout the season. “I definitely think they should," Cotchin said on Channel 7. "It takes a village to win one and everyone should be recognised for the contribution. I think it’s not to put on show. It’s to know that you contributed to that premiership.”

However fans were divided on the issue on social media, with some pointing out that there would be instances where someone who didn't play in the grand final probably wouldn't be worthy of a medal. Some suggested a different colour or type of medal could be given to squad members who didn't play in the big dance but contributed to the overall effort throughout the year.

Bobby Hill the hero as Collingwood wins 16th flag

Bobby Hill kicked a career-best four goals to lead Collingwood to a record-equalling 16th premiership. Hill booted all of his majors in the first half and was awarded the Norm Smith Medal.

The result came despite Craig McRae's side losing key defender Nathan Murphy to concussion in a huge blow before half-time. It marks Collingwood's first premiership since 2010, following heartbreaking grand final defeats in 2011 and 2018, and means they draw level on a record 16 flags with old rivals Carlton and Essendon.

It also erased some of the Magpies' pain from losses to Brisbane on the same stage in 2002 and 2003. Collingwood great Peter Moore presented the cup to Magpies captain and son Darcy Moore - in his 150th game - along with second-year coach McRae.

"I grew up a Collingwood supporter. I was here in 2010, 2003, 2002, in the stands and it feels surreal, it is just bizarre," Darcy Moore told the Seven Network. "So much work goes in for so long, so much has to go right to pull it off today, and we did it."

with AAP

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