#41 Saad El-Hawli - Welcome to Essendon

With pick 13 in the National MSRD Essendon have taken speedy midfielder Saad El-Hawli from the Northern Bullants.

I welcome you to the best club and community in the AFL and hope you can carve a long and distinguished career here. Good luck.


Go well and don’t leave us for FarkCarlton





I’ve got a family member who volunteers at the Bullants. Just got sent a video of his coach announcing to the playing group of his opportunity. Just not sure if I can share atm


You most definitely can


it’ll probs hit twitter soon, so be the change we want to see

1 Like



yeah you can

1 Like

Release the El-Hawli video


Ahhh ■■■■. How do I upload videos lol? Anyway he was literally training and got pulled off the track as they announced it


“Hey Saady, Merv speaking”


Welease Wodewick


I’m gonna have to X it aren’t I?!?






He fast, he makes other fast people look not fast.


Hey saad Nino thinks you STINK



Hopefully he isn’t the last Leb we draft this year


‘He’s a star’: Northern Bullant Saad El-Hawli rises as a play-now AFL mid-season draft prospect

Northern Bullants coach Rohan Welsh has a lofty opinion of Saad El-Hawli, who presents as a top chance for the AFL mid-season draft and has been touted for two big Victorian clubs, writes PAUL AMY.

May 27, 2024 - 12:00PM

(No Cookies | CODE Sports)

Saad El-Hawli of the Bullants is a leading AFL mid-season draft prospect. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

Saad El-Hawli of the Bullants is a leading AFL mid-season draft prospect. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

As new coach Rohan Welsh assessed the players at Northern Bullants pre-season training, trying to sort the certainties from the possibles and the doubtfuls to make the list, he was quick to make a judgement on Saad El-Hawli.

He knew next to nothing about him.

But he liked what he saw, and was in no doubt he would be in the top bracket of Ants players.

“You could just see his attributes … his pace, his level of skill, the athleticism, all the sort of stuff you see in good players,’’ Welsh says.

Nine rounds into the season, El-Hawli has risen to the top line of VFL players and appeals as one of the league’s best chances to be taken in Wednesday’s AFL mid-season rookie draft. If the rumours are right, Melbourne and Collingwood are keen on the 23-year-old.

Last Friday, he had 33 possessions and kicked two goals against the Sydney Swans. From his eight matches this year, he’s averaged 25.8 disposals and 6.5 marks as a half-back and winger who has also gone forward when needed.

“What he’s showed … his ability to win the footy, one-on-one, whether it’s in the air or on the ground, he can do it,’’ Welsh says.

“He’s a good size, he can run, he can jump, he’s a good mark, really good overhead, and a good ball user.

“So he’s got all the attributes. He’s a star. I actually think he’s ready-made, someone who can play this year and do really well. He’s well and truly good enough to play at that level (AFL).’’

El-Hawli says it would “mean everything’’ to be drafted.

“Growing up as a kid, I’ve always kind of dreamed about playing AFL footy, so if I can get my chance at an age like this, it would be amazing,’’ he says.

“It would be a dream come true, honestly.’’

Saad El-Hawli is one of the VFL's best chances for the AFL mid-season draft. Picture: Getty Images

Saad El-Hawli is one of the VFL’s best chances for the AFL mid-season draft. Picture: Getty Images

El-Hawli joined the Bullants last year after spending 2022 at Werribee, where he played five senior games. Brodie Holland, who coached the Ants last year, had seen El-Hawli playing for Altona and coaxed him to Cramer St.

In 2021, the young Viking had been the Western Region league’s rookie of the year. El-Hawli spent his 18-year-old season with the Western Jets and was also attached to the Bachar Houli Academy.

Like Houli, he is a devout Muslim. And similar to Houli, it took an older brother to persuade his parents to allow him to play football.

“Dad wouldn’t let me play. He was worried about the physicality and the dangers of the game.

“My brother (Mohammed) convinced him to let me play when I was 13.’’

He says his faith is important to his football: “It helps me so much. It keeps my life very structured and keeps me away from drugs and alcohol.’’

He said as much in front of his teammates when Welsh recently invited him to speak about his beliefs. The coach thought it an enlightening and informative experience for every Bullant player and official.

El-Hawli says he has gained consistency this season and is enjoying the confidence of Welsh and the other coaches.

“Last year, I didn’t really come out of my shell,’’ he says. “This year, I’ve really embraced the challenge and gone for it.

“I had a big pre-season and got in the gym as well. (Welsh) has been incredible. He’s helped me with confidence, he’s helped me with self-belief, with my positioning. Top coach.’’

Picture: Getty Images

Picture: Getty Images

Welsh is resigned to losing one of his leading players at Wednesday’s draft. If it happens, it will weaken his team but strengthen the Bullants’ reputation as a club that can produce players for the next level.

Last year, big men Brandon Ryan and Finnbar Maley were drafted from the Ants.

“I hope he goes. I’m excited for him … it could be life-changing for the kid,’’ Welsh says. “That’s why we’re here. It would be awesome for the club to get another one up … that’s got to be a selling point for us, developing players and giving them the opportunity to get drafted.’’

El-Hawli was among a group of Bullants that trained with West Coast Eagles in Melbourne before Gather Round.

Meanwhile, clubs believe St Kilda is weighing up Box Hill Hawks midfielder and forward Max Hall, who missed Saturday’s match against Brisbane Lions with what the club called a “slight back issue’’. Hall has averaged 23.6 disposals from seven games this season.

The Saints had been linked to Old Brighton defender Max Benier, who was added to Sandringham’s list this month and played two VFL games. But he was squeezed out of Sandringham’s team and returned to OB last Saturday, an omission that left him one game short of draft eligibility.