‘ Saad squad’ role model

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TOM BOSWELL

GOLD Coast de­fender Adam Saad says his work in the mul­ti­cul­tural space has shaped his ca­reer as much as his on­field feats.

When Saad first ar­rived via the 2014 rookie draft the un­known Mel­bourne prod­uct just dreamt of play­ing an AFL game.

Saad was the only prac­tis­ing Mus­lim to play for ei­ther Queens­land clubs and from the mo­ment he ar­rived at the Suns he be­came a bea­con for those wish­ing to fol­low his foot­steps and oth­ers who found the game through him.

It was a tag he didn’t ask for but one he em­braced as much as his foot­ball.

Saad will play in Gold Coast’s Round 19 game against Rich­mond at Met­ri­con Sta­dium on Satur­day as part of mul­ti­cul­tural round.

The re­bound­ing de­fender said his work had helped shape him as a foot­baller and as a person.

“When I first came here I was more wor­ried about get­ting a game and stay­ing on an AFL list,” Saad said.

“The more ma­ture and more months I stayed here and more com­fort­able I got I saw that and saw how much it has changed me,” Saad said.

“I have ma­tured as a person and all the work I have been do­ing in the com­mu­nity with the ( Australian Is­lamic In­ter­na­tional) Col­lege across the road ( from the club at Car­rara) and to see how much the kids ab­so­lutely love it.

“I have got a ‘ Saad Squad’ now and to see how much that will hope­fully de­velop and con­tinue on.

“I never thought that I could get to that point but you just grow and learn ev­ery day and that’s the way I’m tak­ing it. It is sink­ing in and I’m tak­ing it in my stride now and be a good role model for these kids.”

Saad said he cher­ished the op­por­tu­nity he had to grow the game on the Gold Coast the way Rich­mond’s Bachar Houli has done in the south­ern states.

“It’s some­thing I’m re­ally pas­sion­ate about,” Saad said.

“The Mus­lims on the Gold Coast and in Mel­bourne, to get them in­volved and to love the game the way I do is some­thing I re­ally want to push for­ward with Bachar Houli as well.

“He is a role model of mine and to see the way he has gone about his footy and his reli­gion to bridge the gap and make ev­ery­one fall in love with this great game.

“AFL is a game that in­vites all back­grounds and cul­tures and to see ev­ery­one play that one game is some­thing re­ally spe­cial.”

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