MELBOURNE VS GOLD COAST
SATURDAY APRIL 4
1:40PM, MELBOURNE CRICKET GROUND
COVERAGE: FOX FOOTY
Sixteen weeks ago, new Gold Coast Suns recruit Adam Saad said the day he was drafted was surely the best day of his life. That personal crown may have a new owner come Easter Saturday at the MCG.
The former Coburg star and fan favourite received news much to his delight on Tuesday that barring any injury, he will be selected to play Round 1 against Melbourne at the MCG, following an elevation to the senior list on the 23rd of March.
"It's been a dream ever since I was a kid, I can't quite describe it"
Adam began his football life at 8 years old, pulling on the boots with West Coburg before joining the famed Calder Cannons Footy Factory back in 2010. A skilled left footer, Saad was approached by recruiters but unfortunately just missed out on selection in two drafts in 2012 and 2013.
He didn't let those missed opportunities detract from his ultimate goal. Through persistence and hard work, he managed to transform his game into a running half back and instantly became one of the VFL's leading defenders in 2014, winning the Jim Sullivan Best and Fairest Medal with Daniel Venditti and earned honours in the VFL Team of the Year.
"Obviously we're not there for individual awards, but I think winning the Jim Sullivan Medal showed reward for hard efforts and to share it with Daniel Venditti is a day I'll never forget."
There's no superlative big enough to describe the impact Adam Saad has had on the Coburg Football Club. Always a happy face around the club, Saad's commitment to his on-field performance can only be surpassed by his love of the Coburg Lions.
"In my first year I didn't develop as I had hoped, but with 'Leesy' (Craig Lees) and 'Germo' (Peter German) everything turned on its head. They put the belief in me and here I am now." Saad said.
General Manager Craig Lees, reiterated the significance of Saad's transformation from a part time senior VFL footballer to Round 1 debutant in just 18 months.
"Adam's selection is a great milestone for this football club, and just proves that our coaching staff still produces AFL level talent and we're heading in the right direction as a football club."
When he was drafted up north, there were doubts as to whether Saad could adjust to the lifestyle of being apart from his family, to whom he is so connected to.
"It was a mixture of excitement and sadness to leave home, but as soon as I started playing with guys like Ablett and Swallow it began to feel like home". He said.
His transformation into a full time footballer was seamless. Under the tutelage of Jarrod Harbrow and Nick Malceski, a terrific spell in the NAB Challenge all but confirmed coach Rodney Eade's belief of giving a Round One debut for the former Coburg star.
"Rocket came up to me on Tuesday and confirmed my spot in the side and I called home straight away." he said.
Saad dedicates his journey to his family's belief in his ability, starting with his father Zas.
"He's been my biggest inspiration, no doubt."
Although he'd tell you that family isn't just the parents and siblings, but it rather extends all the way out to the Coburg Football Club, which is certainly a shared sentiment. His 'boys' will no doubt be out in force come Saturday afternoon with the entire club heading out to watch him play hopefully the first of many times for the Gold Coast SUNS.
"It's like a dream come true"