Controversial Collingwood premiership star Jordan De Goey has warmed the hearts of the AFL world after dedicating his premiership win to his terminally ill grandmother, Elisabeth.
In the rooms after the thrilling four-point win over Brisbane, surrounded by family, De Goey placed his premiership medallion around the neck of his wheelchair-bound grandmother.
De Goey fought back tears as he reflected on the impact of his family on his achievement.
“Unfortunately, she has terminal cancer, so this will be the last game for her,” De Goey told News Corp.
“That means the world to me to have her here.
“My grandfather was super influential in my career and unfortunately he passed away. So for me to be able to see (my grandmother) in the rooms is so special. This is a very special moment for my family.”
De Goey called the premiership the “best moment of (his) life”, looking back on a difficult period that saw him twice almost leave Olympic Park.
“I’ve been through so much sh** with the media and everything,” he told Seven, thanking Collingwood supporters for their faith.
“Guys I absolutely love you … every single one of you.”
It follows a career filled with difficulty and controversy for De Goey.
He was suspended for three matches in 2017 after breaking his hand in a bar incident, having initially told the club he broke it playing with his dog.
He was then suspended again in 2018 after being caught drunk driving, before being charged in July 2020 with indecent assault in relation to a 2015 allegation.
The charges were withdrawn in August 2021, but two months later he was arrested in New York City and charged with forcible touching and assault, resulting in being stood down by Collingwood.
The charge of forcible touching was dropped days later, while the assault charge was downgraded to second-degree harassment following a plea bargain in January 2022.
June 2022 saw him mimicking a sexual act while partying in a Bali nightclub, resulting in the loss of a contract extension he had been offered by the club.
At the time, he lashed out at what he called a “relentless pursuit of athletes by the media”, linking it to athlete mental health and suicide outcomes.
“It was a very tough period of time. There was probably a couple of months there where I lived with full anxiety,” he told AFL.com.au ahead of the Grand Final.
“I didn’t want to go out in public. It was a hard situation to be in. I was a shell of myself.
“It affects your family, too; they have the same last name, so they are constantly getting asked questions. You’re just disappointed with yourself and the position you’ve put your family members in; that was the biggest thing.
“As time goes on, you learn to evolve and grow. As long as I have good people around me, I’ll be fine in life.”