At the beginning of the trade period, Marcus Adams was certain his wish would be granted and he would be seamlessly traded to the Lions. However, the 25-year-old would be made to wait until the last 30 minutes of deadline day for it to be confirmed. The defender opens up about the stress he faced, why he chose the Lions and more.
What stood out about Brisbane for you?
I was mulling it over and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back home, or stay in Melbourne, or even go somewhere else. To be honest, the go-home factor was never strong for me, so I’m not sure where any of the reports written about me being homesick surfaced from. It never came out of my mouth, anyway. There were a few clubs in Melbourne that I considered that might have been a good fit, but when I met with Chris Fagan and David Noble and Dom Ambrogio, it was so hard to not commit to them. They put a bit of a pep in my step and I was basically ready to play. It’s hard to explain. They gave me this feeling that made me believe in myself and they clearly demonstrated to me that they believed in me as well. That’s a pretty important thing to have when you’re weighing up where you want to go.
So it was what you can bring to the team, but also what they can bring for you to get the best out of you?
Yeah, it was definitely a bit of both. It was about what I was able to do for them, but also with where their list is at, and I think they spoke openly about the age group that they’re missing due to the likes of Elliott Yeo, Jared Polec and James Aish leaving a few years back. They identified the 23-26 bracket where there is a bit of a hole on the list. Being able to help those young guys out and offer some stability and a strong body is something I can provide. It seems like such a good group, and even just looking from the outside and seeing that they only won five games last year, they lost six games by under 10 points. I watched them a fair bit throughout the year, and most teams you can see if they want to be out on the field, and even when they were getting beaten they looked like they still wanted to be out there. So if you’re being beaten most weeks but you still look like you’re having fun and you’re working for one another, I think that is a good sign. They’re really inclusive too, and I can see that just from joining the players’ WhatsApp group in recent weeks!
Which players have been the most active in there?
Charlie Cameron has been pretty active which has surprised me. I thought he’d be pretty reserved. But it’s not a couple of voices, everyone is really active. They seem so relaxed and together as a group, and I don’t feel there is much segregation because so many of them are from interstate, so they want to create their own bubble.
From your perspective, I imagine the lure to get up there and help rebuild must be quite a pull?
Yeah, and I don’t think they’re mucking around with it either. Even their welfare team, which I have noticed since landing there — just their effort to make sure that things are as smooth and easy for me as possible — I’m actually a little bit wowed by it. They cover everything, it isn’t just the footy part but all of the other things, and I think player retention will be a by-product of all of the work they do off the field with players. There’s no reason we can’t be good for a long time to come.
When was it that you knew you had to explore other opportunities?
Probably just throughout this year. From the time I got there, I never fully settled and got used to it all. Not having a lot around me in terms of personal support networks, and having gone through a few surgeries and different things made it pretty tough. In a footy sense, I don’t think I ever settled, either. My first two or three games were probably as good as I played throughout my whole time there. No matter how hard I tried to progress in the right direction, I kind of stagnated and I feel like I have a lot more to offer than I thought I could get out of myself there. It was the time to explore that and see what other options were brought forward, but in saying that, I was contracted for two more years and still would have been happy to go back there if I thought that was the best place for me. But after meeting with the Brisbane guys it was pretty evident that up north was going to be the best place where I could become the best footballer and the best person I could be.
How close were you to choosing Collingwood?
I did meet with Ned Guy and the team and we had a good chat and they stood out in the same regard, but it was a bit difficult that they were playing through the four weeks in September when I was going through the process, and I grew so fond of Brisbane that it was hard to find that affection for any other club. It got to a point where it didn’t matter which other clubs became interested. I’m pretty glad I made that decision, because even since it has gone through, they have proven that it wasn’t just all talk to make sure the deal got across the line. They’re follow-up work has been amazing and even before the deal was done in the days that Fages was in Perth meeting Lachie Neale and myself, he would came over for the last three days and spend time with my parents and I and he was just so relaxed and relatable. He showed so much care and assistance for me because I became quite stressed that it wouldn’t get done, but he provided so much re-assurance. For him to take that time out of his life is a sign of someone who cares. Different players have a good feel for what is right for them, and Brisbane was the one for me.
And aside from him, your family and your manager, who else provided support to you and who else were you dealing with? At this point, were you still working through things with the Dogs?
I think mum and dad needed the support just as much as me! So the fact Fages was over here was pretty handy. I had a couple of chats with people at the Dogs to clear up my feelings and trying to make sure we could get it done, and they provided me with the issues on their end that might halt the deal getting done, which I understood as well. My manager, Jason Dover, was pretty stressed with me calling him three times a day for a few weeks, but his care and support made me confident that it would get done. It was just a matter of waiting and seeing, and I was one of the most relieved people in the country listening to Trade Radio when I heard that Dom Ambrogio and Sam Power were walking into the room to strike the deal.
So you really weren’t confident it would get done late in the period?
Based on what I heard from the Bulldogs earlier in the day, I thought it wasn’t going to get done. And then it got to about 4pm Perth time and I was pretty stressed and I took the dog for a walk and had the headphones in listening to Trade Radio, and just after 5pm (8pm AEDT) I still wasn’t convinced that anything was going anywhere at that point. There was so much talk about Shiel and Beams so it was hard to know what was happening with the other deals. To hear those guys go into the room and strike a deal… I can still remember it pretty fondly!
Looking at Tim Kelly, it shows that even if you nominate a club and you’re confident, it still might not get done…
Yeah, and I was 80/20 favouring that it wasn’t going to get done due to how I felt it was tracking. It was such a struggle of a negotiation for a while there.
How is your body?
Really good. I would say it is the best it has been, even after some of the injuries I have had. Those issues are all behind me and in the past, so hopefully I can get a good run in the future and can have a pleasant change.
Considering your struggles with the Dogs to settle and your injury issues, what were you doing away from footy to stay sane?
I was studying psychology in my first two years there, and then in my third year I didn’t do any study which didn’t help me a great deal. I felt with so much going on that I needed to try and find a way to settle as opposed to putting more on my plate, but it turned out doing less didn’t help me like I thought it would.
Did any of the psychology study you undertook help you during the trade period?
I like to read a lot and like to think I know what is going on, but once you’re stressed you can’t really think too clearly! I wish it helped me, but it didn’t.
No worries, Marcus. Thanks for the chat and good luck with the Lions.