A little Saad story in today’s H/S
Adam Saad wants to emulate the premiership heroics of good mate Bachar Houli
JON RALPH, Herald Sun
November 18, 2017 10:54am
DASHING Essendon defender Adam Saad says he is desperate to emulate the premiership feats of good mate Bachar Houli at his new home.
Saad this week started training at his new Melbourne Airport home base, immediately feeling comfortable after spending three years away from family on the Gold Coast.
Houli has been a mentor for Saad as he came through the junior ranks and finally found his way to the AFL after starring in the VFL for Coburg.
But his cultural beliefs meant he became intensely homesick away from his family, eventually seeking a trade.
But before that he sat with his family in Melbourne’s inner north on Grand Final day, watching a mate achieve a life-long dream.
“I was watching it and Bachar was outstanding in that game,’’ he told the Sunday Herald Sun from a five-day training camp in Darwin.
“In the big moments of the game he really stood up and I was so happy for him to be a premiership player.
“If I could emulate him, winning a flag, it would be a dream come true.
“I was watching it at home with my family and when Richmond got up I was pretty happy.
“I know Bachar pretty well, we are pretty close and I have tried to learn off him and feed off what he has been trying to do in the past 10 years.”
Ironically Houli left Essendon for Richmond to seek greater opportunity and has peeled off seven excellent seasons at the Tigers.
Saad, 23, knew on Monday morning his trade would work out perfectly before he even walked into the doors of Essendon.
“I live in Brunswick so (Essendon’s headquarters) are a 15 or 20-minute drive on the freeway,’’ he said.
“It was pretty different. It’s really good knowing I can finish my training and just go home.
“The first drive was pretty special, to be honest. It’s the most excited I have been in a year or so.
Saad’s good mate Bachar Houli celebrates a Grand Final day goal. Picture: Getty Images
“Being away for three years was a massive challenge. It’s been a relief seeing my nieces and nephews every single day and my grandma lives just down the road so it’s been pretty special.”
Saad found some aspects of the Gold Coast a challenge to his faith given the lack of family support, completing his Ramadan fast with only a few assistant coaches.
But he says the perception he could only find a partner if he was introduced by a family elder or religious figure in his local community was wide of the mark.
“It’s nothing like that, it’s who you fall in love with. For me it was nothing about finding a partner,” he said.
“In our culture preferably it would be a Muslim who had the same beliefs as me. But you don’t have to get introduced by family or friends.
“It’s all about connecting with someone and if you find love that’s it.”
He can’t wait to build a synergy with the back six over summer, likely to feature on an attacking half-back line that includes Conor McKenna and Michael Hurley.
The player acquired for a 2018 second-round pick has been typecast as a rebounder but also plays as a miserly lock-down defender.
“My first session was on Monday and I am absolutely loving it,” he said.
“Seeing Essendon make a final this year, if we can have a really good pre-season and play finals next year it’s where I want to go.
“To be able to play in a game like that with a big crowd would be so exciting.
“Every player on an AFL list wants to win a premiership and at Essendon we are striving to do that.
“We will work really hard this pre-season and hopefully we can make finals and give it a really good shake next year.”