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.
'MAKES ME SICK': Backlash over detail in Collingwood triumph
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.
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.
You have to feel for Taylor Adams
— JG (@JG2325) September 30, 2023
I hope that somewhere tonight John Noble, Taylor Adams and Dan McStay have a moment to sit together and let all their emotions out.
As much as the public are sold the 'team success' storyline; it's simply not true.
Those 3 haven't won a Grand Final. #AFLGF https://t.co/D1p7e0fvZm
— Jack M (@jjmvoice) September 30, 2023
— Tom Byrne (@ByrneT03) September 30, 2023
What a magnificent game. Best GF ever. Well played @brisbanelions you were amazing. Gutted for Taylor Adams. And hooray you mighty Pies. So bloody good. @CollingwoodFC @brisbanelions #AFLGF #AFLPiesLions
— Gillian OShaughnessy (@GillOshaughness) September 30, 2023
i feel bad for taylor adams
— ayaan❤️🔥 (@harryleclerc) September 30, 2023
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.
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.
Premierships are won by clubs, not just the 23 on the day. Taylor Adams deserves recognition as does John Noble. #gopies
— David Catto (@dmcatto) September 30, 2023
billy frampton getting a premiership medal instead of taylor adams or john noble doesn’t sit right with me
— ayaan❤️🔥 (@harryleclerc) September 30, 2023
To think Billy Frampton gets a premiership medal & Taylor Adams doesn’t is crazy. Adams played for games this season but has nothing to show for it. Frampton only gets a game through others misfortune.
It will take more than 23 players to win a flag. #AFL #aflgrandfinal2023
— Shaun cummings (@CummingsShaun85) September 30, 2023
When are the @AFL going to get real and give all members of the squad a premiership medal.
Just seems wrong if the Pies win and McStay, Adams, Noble etc miss out.
Same story for all other teams as well of course.
— Reality (@Factchecker2000) September 27, 2023
You dont give one to Gaff for knocking out brayshaw in 2018
If your injured, punished, or not good enough
— Jason I (@jason_isaia) September 27, 2023
Team on game day get a game medal. Rest of club should get a premiership team medallion.
— Julie Tierney (@sk248) September 27, 2023
Yessss! Please this is one thing we need to copy from overseas sports… congratulate the guys on game day no worries… but the entire squad deserve a medal too like in nfl and mlb the entire roster gets a ring…
— Aaron O'Donnell (@Aaron_Odonnell) September 27, 2023
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."
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