Recent HS article … good read
List guru Chris Pelchen and Champion Data’s Jacob Wilson assess Essendon’s trade period
FORGET Jake Stringer and Devon Smith.
Adam Saad was Essendon’s most significant signing this trade period.
List guru Chris Pelchen told the Fox Footy podcast that while Stringer and Smith would complement the Bombers’ offensive game style, it was Saad who would not only slot in with ease, but make the biggest impact.
“I think the lowest profile of the three is probably the most important to them in terms of their game style and that’s Adam Saad,” Pelchen said.
“I think he gives them real rebound off the back half, something they really need.”
Champion Data’s Jacob Wilson echoed Pelchen’s sentiments, describing the former Gold Coast Suns defender as “a highly underrated player”.
Saad averaged 17 disposals throughout 2017, as well as three rebound 50s and four score involvements per game. No player took more bounces than the highly explosive and creative defender.
“Adam Saad is the man for me,” Wilson said.
“We rate him as elite for a general defender, so in the top 10 per cent of players, because he moves the ball so well. He runs it by hand and foot and hits targets.”
Saad requested a trade home to Victoria for personal reasons earlier this month.
A devout Muslim, the 23-year-old struggled to combine his AFL career with his religious commitments when he was isolated from family and friends.
Throughout Ramadan, for example, Saad had no one to break fast with.
Wilson praised Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro for securing the speedster in what was a highly successful trade period for the Bombers.
Stringer — an All-Australian forward at 21 in 2015 — has the capacity to again reach those heights, while Smith adds some much needed depth to the club’s midfield.
“They’ve got three players in with a lot of speed and a lot of flair,” Wilson said.
“They’re all offensive players, which is great for their offensive brand of football.
“It’s hats off to Dodoro, it’s his second or third really strong trade period in a row.”
Essendon landed its three trade targets — and for modest returns.
Saad was traded for a future second-round pick, while Smith and two second-round choices were exchanged for Pick 11.
Stringer was the last of the three trades, with Essendon exchanging Pick 25 and Pick 30 for the premiership player.
Pelchen suggested the Bombers had “forced the Bulldogs’ hand” by giving up the highly coveted Pick 11 for Smith in the first week of trade — a move that ultimately paid dividends/
“While Stringer was the high profile recruit, they did the right thing, they held their nerve by pulling the trigger on Devon Smith so early in the trade period,” Pelchen said.
“It was a very wise thing to do.
“Overall, it was a really good result for Essendon. There has been a bit of a dark cloud over the club for such a long time.
“I think now they can see the blue sky — even opposition players are seeing the blue sky. I think they’ve consolidated where they’re going.”