Taylor Adams and Brodie Grundy at Sydney training on December 4, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

IT'S been over two months since the Grand Final, but Taylor Adams' pain of missing out on a premiership is still raw.

Now a Sydney player, the 30-year-old stepped out in front of the media in his new colours for the first time on Monday and it was very much apparent that his absence from Collingwood's flag triumph is not an easy one for him to discuss.

As the subject is raised, the eyes seemingly get close to welling up and the breaths get a little deeper.

"That was certainly part of the reason I wanted to come here. I'm 30 years old and just missed out on the premiership," an emotional Adams said.

"You could go as far as saying my career would be unfulfilled if I didn't get one, which is probably an extreme statement, but that's how much we all want to win them.

"I know that it's a bold statement, but I've packed up my life and moved myself and my family up here and I believe that we've got the list and the coaching panel and the support network to get it done at some point in the next three years."

Taylor Adams speaks to media at Sydney training on December 4, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Denied the ultimate success only through injury, Adams has been hit by the cruelty of sport that spares very few.

Overcoming that is a huge part of his motivational source at the Swans along with a desire to reclaim a full-time midfield spot that Collingwood was no longer offering.

"I was clearly playing out of my preferred role, doing centre bounces and then played majority of my time forward. I fell down the pecking order a little bit, and I accepted that completely. And I played my role as hard as I could and did all I could to prepare myself every game, every week to contribute to the team," he said.

"And to be honest, I never had a conversation with anyone about wanting to play in a certain position because we were winning. I just wanted to be part of a team that was a chance to win a premiership. And I was there. I was a whisker away from it.

"I felt like I had more to give. So, my manager got in contact with the Swans and he identified a need that they may have, and 'Horse' (John Longmire) and his team jumped at it. It happened really quickly after the Grand Final. I met with him (Longmire) up here and he basically said, 'We need someone with your experience and the way you play your footy as an inside mid.'

“And I still think I've got my best footy ahead of me. My body has been good the last two years, albeit missing again some pretty crucial games, mentally I feel like I can still compete at the top level."

Taylor Adams at Sydney training on December 4, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

A best-and-fairest winner at the Magpies in 2020, landing Adams 12 years after he was drafted by Greater Western Sydney is a high-profile recruitment to fill an obvious deficiency.

The Swans struggled in clearances last season despite their abundance of talent and, with Callum Mills likely out until the mid-point of the year at least, Adams' arrival is timely for a club going all-in on a premiership.

Also a boost for Sydney is the arrival of his former Collingwood teammate in Brodie Grundy.

A gun ruckman and clearance advantage can often go hand in hand and Sydney needed a major upgrade in that area as well.

Left on the outer during his one year at Melbourne, the two-time All-Australian and the Swans were an obvious match.

"I don't want to put too much pressure on, but yeah, it's a strategic fit," he said.

Brodie Grundy speaks to media at Sydney training on December 4, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"At Melbourne, I had a six-time All-Australian (Max Gawn) there and it was really cool. It's great. I learned lots and it was really fun. But you talk about the opportunity here now at Sydney, it's just a hand in glove sort of opportunity.

"I'm feeling really valued and really supported to bring my best for this side. And there's obviously some strengths that I have that I feel like I can bring and help complement some of these younger players on the inside."

Like Adams, Grundy is yet to taste premiership success. They were on the same Collingwood team that lost in torturous fashion to West Coast in 2018.

To view the 29-year-old as someone less passionate about winning a flag would be flawed but there is a clear juxtaposition between the Swans' headline recruits when discussing how it would define their careers.

"Taylor's a very competitive person, just as I am. We show it in different ways," Grundy said.

Brodie Grundy in action during Sydney's training session on December 1, 2023. Picture: Sydney FC

"A lot of time careers are defined by that sole outcome. But what I've learned over time is there's many successes that you can take along the way, and I'm looking forward to finding them here throughout the season. And a big part of that, I think, is relationships and learning just as a person, not just as an athlete. And I think a change will be a good opportunity for me to do that. But yeah, obviously reinforcing that to win a Grand Final, that would be a nice thing to hang your hat on. 

"Particularly having missed out and seeing what the Pies went on to rightfully claim as theirs this year."

Being viewed as the missing piece in the jigsaw isn't new to Grundy. 

That was the plan for him at Melbourne, yet one shelved halfway through the season.

It's hard to imagine the South Australian being bitter about anything in life such is his perspective on most matters and he's certainly not about the failed partnership with Gawn.

"I don't have any regrets about my time at Melbourne, to be honest. It will be an interesting leap in the tenure of my career to see one year at Melbourne and 17 games, but that's life. I never thought that two, three years earlier that I would leave Collingwood, and then I didn't think that I was going to leave Melbourne. It just goes to show that life can throw curve balls, and you've just got to be open," he said.

Brodie Grundy poses in his new Sydney colours for the first time at Coogee on November 30, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

A mere 17 games won't stop the Opening Round clash between the Swans and the Demons being built around Grundy though and it's a situation he welcomes.

"It's flattering, isn't it? I'd only been there for a year. No, that's great. Football's theatre, and we need to try and entertain people and bring people in. And you talk about growing the game here in Sydney, and I see that as a responsibility for all players. And a big part of that is creating those narratives and getting people to come in," he said.

"I'll never believe it so much so that it distracts me from the sole focus, but it'll be cool to compete against Max. It was great to sort of work with him there for a year and learn all his tricks."

The following week will have a sharp focus on Adams as he takes on the Pies for the first time after a decade in the black and white stripes.

But as an inaugural Giant, there will also be some emotion attached when he faces GWS in a Sydney Derby in round eight at the SCG.

"I'm still really close with Toby (Greene). I was at his place last week and we've always had fierce battles. The Battle of the Bridge will be the fiercest," he said.