It was nothing but heartbreak for Collingwood’s Taylor Adams after the final siren.
As his teammates went into delirium after claiming a nailbiting four-point win over the Brisbane Lions, Adams was no doubt feeling some very mixed emotions.
Each year at least one player from a Grand Final bound team misses out in heartbreaking circumstances, in 2023 it was Adams’ turn.
Adams missed out on playing a key role in the big game after suffering a hamstring injury during the club’s match simulation session following their qualifying final win over Melbourne.
After the final siren the emotion came pouring out as he congratulated his fellow teammates for the achievement they’d just pulled off.
The Collingwood vice-captain was seen with tears in his eyes as he made his way around the ground to be with his teammates.
The heartbreaking scenes will only further prompt renewed debate about the AFL’s premiership medal policy.
Adams played in 23 games for the Magpies this season, but will not receive a premiership medal under the AFL’s controversial policy.
While the NFL and NBA hand out championship rings to all players included on a team’s roster, the AFL and NRL have always limited the amount of rings and medals distributed to those that take the field on match day.
Richmond legend Trent Cotchin on Wednesday night advocated for all players to receive premiership medals and told Channel 7’s Talking Finals the unlucky players would not feel awkward about getting medals if they didn’t play in the grand final.
“I definitely think they should. It takes a village to win one and everyone should be recognised for the contribution,” he said.
“I think it’s not to put on show. It’s to know that you contributed to that premiership.”
It is particularly devastating for Adams, who is widely reported to be among the most popular players inside the club’s dressing room.
Footy journalist Jay Clark said at the time of Adams’ injury earlier this month it would be “horrific” for the 30-year-old to miss the grand final.
“That is heartbreaking for Taylor Adams,” he said on Triple M’s Dead Set Legends.
“It’s shattering. He loves his footy. This would be absolutely devastating for him.”