Whenever Ahmed Saad’s name is mentioned the phrase “long-run-up“ instantly arises.
“Saady” may have copped the ire of opposition fans at times for the approach that was longer than Pat Cummins' to the bowling crease, but it is a fact that his 33 game career netted 48 goals 27 behinds - an accuracy rate of 64 per cent. Even Plugger only managed a 69 per cent return and he was the greatest kick of all time!
But in the Round 16 clash with Brisbane in 2012 it wasn’t long run-ups that were a feature of Saad’s bag of four goals. Three of them came from well-timed kicks on balls half-volleyed off the deck, one being a brilliant scissor kick. It was said that he had developed his soccer skills during his childhood in Egypt.
Of his kicking style he makes a simple observation: “It works!”.
Nowadays it is still working for the 31-year-old captain of West Preston who in 2020 bagged 92 goals and before that 67. He has led the competition goalkicking and headed up two premiership teams.
After leaving the Saints he played a season of VFL with Coburg, then the last four seasons with West Preston.
In 2012 St Kilda found a way to overcome a tight challenge from Brisbane at the Gabba. St Kilda went into the match clinging to eighth place on percentage ahead of Carlton, Richmond, North and Fremantle with Brisbane one game behind that pack.
St Kilda had to scrap every inch of the way as the Lions worked extremely hard to box the Saints in and played the game on their own terms for much of the night.
The Saints were forced into manufacturing goals, as key forward Nick Riewoldt was tightly marked by Joel Patful and became frustrated by the attention. A crunching knee from Daniel Merrett was another debilitating factor for the Saints skipper.
Saints’ small forwards Saad and Stephen Milne snaffled seven goals between them which was huge in the overall context of the game.
In the end it was St Kilda’s ability to start winning clearances continuously in the final term – primarily from Lenny Hayes, which got the side over the line.
The lead changed six times in the final term before Milne and Arryn Siposs settled the matter with goals.
The game was in doubt all the way and it was only when Siposs lunged over the pack for a chest mark and goaled, that the match was in St Kilda’s keeping.
ST KILDA 4.0 6.1 10.7 16.9 (105)
BRISBANE 3.3 7.5 10.6 14.8 (92)
Saad 4, Milne 3, Siposs 2, Armitage 2, Montagna 2, Riewoldt 2, Gilbert
Jones, Saad, Montagna, Hayes, Armitage, Milne
|B||Jarryn Geary||Tom Simpkin||James Gwilt|
|HB||Sam Gilbert||Sam Fisher||Sean Dempster|
|C||Nick Dal Santo||Lenny Hayes||Beau Wilkes|
|HF||Ahmed Saad||Nick Riewoldt||Jason Gram|
|F||Stephen Milne||Justin Koschitzke||Arryn Siposs|
|R||Ben McEvoy||David Armitage||Leigh Montagna|
|INT||Clinton Jones||Adam Schneider||Farren Ray|