19/04/2024

Sam Jacobs playing for the Adelaide Crows. (Photo: Adelaide Crows/Twitter)

Sam Jacobs played over 200 games for Carlton, Adelaide and GWS, but never truly received the recognition he deserved. Listen to the full chat on Amato's 5th Quarter.

Brodie Grundy, Dean Cox, Max Gawn, Nic Naitanui, Todd Goldstein… some of the finest ruckmen we have seen in the past ten years.

They all have All-Australian jumpers to their names and are sighted as being the best in the business. One name frequently left out of this mould however, is Sam ‘Sauce’ Jacobs.

Forever the team-man, Sauce played over 200 games for Carlton, Adelaide and GWS, won three Showdown Medals and was part of the All-Australian nominated squad of 40 on three occasions, but never truly received the recognition he deserved.

In this one-on-one chat, I sat down with the 203cm big-man as he took me through his career.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GsWl8djiLA&ab_channel=Amato%27s5thQuarterPodcast

Sauce comes from a small coastal town, located on the eastern coast of the Yorke Peninsula.

“Adrossan has a very small community,” he said.

“I had a very eventful upbringing, being in a small town my life revolved around sport; basketball and cricket in summer and football in winter.”

Recruited by Carlton with pick one in the 2007 Rookie Draft, Jacobs spent four years at the Navy Blues.

“I didn’t know many people when I went over there, but over the four years I made a close group of friends. Four years is your typical working apprenticeship and that’s what gave me the springboard to play some good football when I came home to South Australia.”

After 2010, Sauce requested a trade back to South Australia.

“2011 was good personally, I felt coming back home I was ready to play regular AFL football.

“Neil Craig was a very hard working, high standards coach and I really enjoyed that side of it. I was very fortunate to have nine months with him.”

The following year stands as one of the most underrated seasons in recent time, with Adelaide rising from 14th to a single kick away from a Grand Final.

“When Sando [Brenton Sanderson] came across, he instilled immediate belief and we all hung off every word he said. We had a lot of guys in the right demographic and it just all came together.”

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The 2012 Preliminary Final against Hawthorn was a tight affair, with Adelaide taking an unlikely lead with five minutes remaining, only to fall short to a star-studded Hawthorn team.

“It was a special game with a lot of tense moments, when Stiffy [Graham Johncock] kicked that goal the crowd went mad. But as soon as that siren goes, it’s very disappointing.”

Tragedy strikes Jacobs

Two seasons of disappointment would follow with the Crows missing the finals on both occasions before parting ways with Brenton Sanderson.

Phil Walsh was appointed as senior coach for season 2015, but on July 3 of the same year, the darkest day in Adelaide’s history struck, with Walsh losing his life in the most tragic circumstances.

“I was at home, it was 5:30 in the morning when Scott Camporeale called me and told me he’d passed away,” Jacobs said.

“It was just the raw emotion and trying to get your head around it was a really difficult thing to do.

“2015 was one of my proudest years, as a group we were able to go to there MCG and win a final.”

Taylor Walker after the Showdown in 2015. (Photo: Adelaide Crows)

The 2017 season was a season of dominance for the Crows, who stormed their way to a Grand Final for the first time since 1998. For Jacobs, however, the season would be remembered for losing his brother, Aaron.

“It was a really challenging and emotional time,” Jacobs said.

“2017 was my most eventful year to say the least, but to be at a football club and have the support was warming at the same time. It would have been nice to have won the Grand Final and dedicate it to my brother.”

Adelaide were hot favourites coming into the 2017 Grand Final. Its opponents, Richmond, took the early lead.

“We went in at half time nine points down but it felt like we were nine goals down. The rooms were really flat and everyone was a bit shell-shocked, there probably wasn’t enough conversation.”

The camp and moving on

The much-spoken about pre-season camp took place in the pre-season after, and Jacobs believes it may have played part in the club’s on-field demise of 2018-19.

“No doubt the external noise with the camp had an affect own our performance,” he said.

“There was some positives to come out of it, but there was a lot of stuff I didn’t feel was relevant to what we were doing. I don’t feel anything bad towards the club because we had to get better, so we tried something different and it didn’t work.”

Jacobs was one that chose to leave on his own accord after 2019.

“The Crows were looking to rebuild and Reilly O’Brien was ready. GWS offered me two years and the Crows could only offer one, and most of that would have been in the SANFL.”

After the COVID-19 impacted 2020 season and an unexpected fall from grace from GWS, Jacobs knew it was time to call it a day.

“I was very comfortable with the decision [to retire]. I’m working at the Crows now in an engagement role off the field, and hope to keep spending more time with my family which is a positive.”

Listen to more from Amato’s 5th Quarter here.

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