Taylor Adams during the Sydney Swans Official Team Photo Day on January 16, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. Picture: AFL Photos

TAYLOR Adams doesn't shy away from the pain that will inevitably come after missing out on a premiership at Collingwood.

He admits he'll be saddened when the 2023 triumph is celebrated over time, and he'll be absent from it.

But after just seven games as a Swan, the possibility of that anguish being diluted by a flag with Sydney is real.

The 30-year-old and his Harbour City teammates won't think about it too much just yet. One game at a time, and all that.

But as he drives to the SCG to take on Geelong on Sunday, he does so as part of a team that made it to the final Saturday of September only two years ago, and sits a game and a half clear at the top of the table in 2024.

Taylor Adams at Swans training at the SCG on Friday, June 7, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"I didn't expect to be 10-and-one at the break, but I knew that our best footy was certainly good enough to beat anyone. And I certainly saw that through the pre-season,” Adams told AFL.com.au.

"At the end of the day, everything you do day-to-day and week-to-week is to achieve that goal (a premiership), but I don't know if it's helpful thinking about it like that.

"It's always in the back of your mind that there's a purpose behind what we're doing. We don't just come to the football club to kill time.

"Yeah, we're in a great spot at the moment but no one really remembers April, May, and June, come September.

"It's been a really enjoyable move. I'm loving the lifestyle and I'm loving being up in Sydney, loving the group and the coaching staff. It's a really great footy club. I certainly miss Melbourne and the Pies and all my mates there, it's probably gone as well as it possibly could have so far."

There'll be few stories more celebrated than that of Adams' if he is able to cap off his first season as a Swan with a flag.

He suffered heartbreak in the 2018 loss to West Coast and then missed out on the premiership last year that redeemed the pain of five years earlier for so many.

Taylor Adams hugs Darcy Moore after the 2023 AFL Grand Final between Collingwood and Brisbane at the MCG on September 30, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

It was a sour end after 175 games at the club that included a Club Champion award and All-Australian blazer, but one he is starting to be at peace with as the wins rack up at Sydney.

"There's no one to blame. It's just a really crappy thing that happens unfortunately," Adams said.

"I'd like to think that my impact on the football club was still profound, although I didn't play in a premiership team. And not only that, my time there was just so enjoyable, but it wasn't the be-all and end-all.

"I think that once my career is said and done, I think the thing that I'll miss the most is, or I think the thing that will make me the saddest is reunions and missing out on the post-career celebrations because whilst you're still in it, whilst you're still playing and you're still trying to win one, you haven't got time to think about it, you haven't got time to reflect on it."


Adams has also been preoccupied this year with trying to initially win a spot, and then hold it, in this Swans outfit brimming with talent.

He always loomed as a key part of John Longmire's plans once he recovered from a pre-season injury, but when a three-time club champion like Luke Parker is forced to play in the reserves, it underlines that nothing is guaranteed.

"I certainly felt in all of my years that my position was up for grabs, even when I was playing my best footy at Collingwood, and that's just the sort of person I am. My mindset has always been to never get too complacent and to keep striving to get better," Adams said.

"No matter what you've done in the past, there's always going to be guys that are coming through and putting pressure on spots, and that's happening here.

"Luke (Parker) certainly didn't put a foot wrong. His pre-season was outstanding. He got really unlucky breaking his arm and by the time he got back, the team was going really well.

"Luke's just epitomised exactly what this football club is about, being a great teammate and sacrificing for the betterment of the team.

"He has every right to be upset. He's a champion of our game but the way that he's helped our younger guys through his leadership, his positivity, his training standards, and the way that he went back and played really well it's been a great learning experience for all of us involved."

James Rowbottom and Luke Parker during Sydney's training session at the SCG on May 21, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Adams' own pre-season knee injury meant he missed a blockbuster round one showdown with his old teammates at Collingwood.

That reunion is now reserved for a Friday night clash in round 22.

"It's probably a blessing in disguise that I didn't play in that game," Adams said.

"It just felt like there was an enormous build-up to that with the flag unfurling and the emotions running extremely high in the early part of the year.

"I still stay connected to a lot of the people at Collingwood. Just a couple of days ago I was speaking to a few of those guys and after getting off the phone and just thinking like it's amazing how the relationships you build through football, through adversity and the good times. Those relationships will always be super strong, and I look forward to hosting the Pies at the SCG in August, it'll be great."

Taylor Adams (left) chats with Jordan De Goey during Collingwood's training session at Olympic Park Oval on September 20, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

In 13 years at the apex of the game, Adams has played with and against the best of the best in the engine rooms of the AFL.

At Sydney right now, he's adding the experience and nous to a young midfield group that may well go down in history as one of the best ever with James Rowbottom, Errol Gulden and Chad Warner all aged 23 years and under.

"They're all different in their own right. Chad's got enormous natural ability that not many have in terms of his power and his strength. Rowey's (Rowbottom) pressure and his contest is as good as I've ever seen from a young player. And Errol, his running ability, his ball use, he's probably one of the smartest and most complete players I've seen at that age," Adams said.

"But the thing that underlines them and makes them all is their desire to keep getting better. Every session in the preseason they were our best five trainers. They lift heavy and hard in the gym. They do extra touch. They do all the little things that great athletes do, and they do it consistently."

Chad Warner (left) and Errol Gulden celebrate after Sydney's win over the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium in round 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Tying all of that together is coach John Longmire, who Adams has grown to admire hugely.

"He's an extremely successful person, but the thing that I've absolutely loved and admired from my time here is just the person that he is, the care he has for this football club, for his players, for his staff," he said.

"I've been so grateful for the support he's given me and I feel really lucky to be learning off him because he'll no doubt go down as one of the all-time great coaches, and, hopefully, he's still got a couple more flags in him."

If that proves to be true this year, it'll cap off the ultimate end to a tumultuous 12 months for Taylor Adams.