Taylor Adams says Collingwood still want Devon Smith and that he would “love nothing more than to play footy” with his longtime friend.
Smith last week requested a trade from Greater Western Sydney to Essendon. The Magpies had been one of several other Victorian clubs in the market for the soon to be ex-Giants forward. Adams and Smith played together at GWS, but their bond stretches back considerably further, having grown up together in the Geelong area before playing together at the Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup.
Speaking after Friday night’s Copeland Trophy count, at which he was runner-up by one vote to Steele Sidebottom, Adams, a member of the club’s leadership group, said he had spoken to Smith about his decision but didn’t want to put pressure on his close friend.
“Yeah briefly. I spoke to Dev,” Adams told Fairfax Media.
He said the Pies were still lurking if a trade with the Bombers fell over. “Obviously we really want him at our footy club. Probably I more so than anyone else. He’s my best mate, has been since we were 10 years old. I would love nothing more than to play footy with Dev,” Adams said.
“Obviously he’s a super talent, competitive animal. Whatever club he lands at he’s going to do well at. But I didn’t put a heap of pressure on him. I was just there to help, I’ve been through the circumstances he’s going through. I gave him some advice, would love to see him in the black and white. “
Adams paid tribute to coach Nathan Buckley, who he said had played a key role in Adams’ improvement both as a player and a person. He said he’d been thrilled to find out Buckley had received a two-year contract extension at the end of the home and away season after a year full of speculation about the coach’s future.
“I was at home. I was a little bit hungover actually after our ‘silly Sunday’,” Adams recalled.
“I had my exit interview that day and I walked into the office and we didn’t really talk about my year at all really. I was just rapt that I could tell there was a glow on Bucks’ face and it was exactly how I felt.
“I’ve been outspoken about the club and re-signing Bucks and the whole time I thought it was the right move and I was rapt when he re-signed for two years.
“Yeah it’s his job, but you see a guy, who’s a human being, go through what he had to go through, it was tough for him, and I imagine tough for his family. I care for Bucks more than just for him as a coach.
“The general consensus of the footy club and the playing group was we were really excited about Bucks being re-signed and the fact that we didn’t have to answer questions about Bucks’ future, and we can just play.”
Adams said he had learnt plenty from being in the leadership group. “I’ve been in the leadership group two years now. It’s taught me a lot. I’ve learnt off some really good people and I’ve certainly grown as a man,” he said.
Adams also said he was over an ankle complaint that arose late in 2016 and led him to have injections at times early in the year. “I can’t get wait to get back into it,” he said.
The Pies will next year be looking to make the finals for the first time since 2013.