Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs says the prospect of an AFL premiership has given his life a purpose since the death of his brother.
Jacobs says his Crows teammates have helped him carry a heavy heart after his older brother Aaron died on August 30, eight days before Adelaide’s first final.
“That’s a bit of an understatement, emotional roller-coaster,” Jacobs told reporters on Monday.
“It has been a crazy past month … the tragic event I went through.
“But at the same time I had real purpose around trying to get (AFL) success.”
After Jacobs’ 31-year-old brother Aaron died an undisclosed illness, his Crows teammates rallied around their popular ruckman.
But ahead of Saturday’s grand final against Richmond, Jacobs was also at pains to not disrupt Adelaide’s finals campaign.
“When I lost my brother Aaron it wasn’t ever about me,” he said.
“It’s about continuing the journey we started back in 2011 when I got the club.
“As as a team we have gone through some really tough times,” he said, referring to the deaths of head coach Phil Walsh in 2015 and assistant coach Dean Bailey in 2014.
“… Unfortunately I have been through it (grieving) before and I feel I have got some pretty good tools to be able to deal with it.
“And playing footy with my mates … is part of that.”
After his brother’s death, Jacobs returned to his home town of Ardrossan on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula – population about 1,130 – where he found another community rallying in support.
“Ardrossan has gone to lengths to make sure my family and me are well supported, which has been amazing from back home,” Jacobs said.
“At the funeral I had mates come over from Melbourne to be there for me.
“The whole playing group has been fantastic, right from (captain) Taylor Walker to Matt Signorello, the youngest guy.
“They have all got around me and made sure I’m comfortable in my surrounds and I guess just treated me normal. And that is what I wanted.”
Jacobs has been among Adelaide’s best players in consecutive finals wins to set up the premiership decider against the Tigers – a fact just starting to sink in for the 29-year-old.
“Over the weekend it has probably been a bit surreal,” Jacobs said.
“I took my dog for a walk yesterday for 15-20 minutes to take in what we had actually done – but at the same time knowing it’s nothing if we don’t get the win this week.
“We’re excited by the prospect of putting ourselves out there.”