Home Sports Is Saad the least evil player in the AFL?

Is Saad the least evil player in the AFL?

Essendon fans experienced a feeling on Friday night that Carlton fans know all too well.

What is the word for when you remember how good times used to be, knowing the present is much worse? The dictionary definition may contain a picture of a Carlton member. Let’s call the term “Carltonism”.

Carlton supporters may have invented the concept, but Essendon fans are feeling it the most right now.

But good for Bombers fans, who saw a moment to cheer on a very disappointing 150th anniversary. In the last fifteen minutes the game was all but lost to one of their least beloved rivals, Adam Saad drove towards goal. It seemed that Saad, previously loved but now on a spectrum between tolerated and despised by Essendon, knew a goal against his former employers would really hurt.

Saad, however, did not kick his goal. The cheers from Essendon fans when they saw their former player being tackled and delaying his kick was one of their loudest of the evening. When the booing sounded, like they’d been all night for Saad, I wondered if there’s a player less “angry” than Adam Saad in the AFL?

Saad is small, but that doesn’t stop him from jumping and playing bravely. He’s tough in the honest sense, not in the dirty sense. He is reliable, rarely misses matches or gets beaten. As a back pocket, it is not put in the spotlight.

He should probably be talked about as an All Australian this year, but I’ve seen minimal coverage of that. He is an entertainer, his defense outliers a weekly highlight and lifter for Carlton.

You can understand why you would hate Saad as an Essendon fan. He left in his prime, 26 years old, and to, of all places, Carlton. The media portrayed the move as a blow to Essendon and a slap to Carlton, right or wrong.

Perhaps Saad’s continued excellence hurts the most. He has also saved some of his best work in a Carlton jumper for Essendon in his two matches against them.

For what it’s worth, Essendon arguably fared well from the trade. They were given a first round pick and managed to make a player from Nick Hind, who plays a similar role, albeit of a lower level than Saad. Statistically, Hind and Saad are not that different. However, if you watch live, it is clear that the Carlton man is a much tighter defender, more team-oriented and impactful.

Bombers fans will one day be cured of their “Carltonism” and be able to live in the present, just as Blues fans are trying to do now. But for now, the simple pleasures of watching a former player (an honest, respectable player destined for the finals action) may be tackled and not the best they can hope for.

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