IF ONE man typified Gold Coast's commitment, desire and courage against Fremantle on Saturday, it was first-year defender Adam Saad.

After being taken off the field earlier in the day with a corked arm, the energetic 20-year-old put his body on the line once again during the third quarter.

Without a second of hesitation, Saad cut across the path of oncoming Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich to spoil his attempt at gathering possession. Pavlich clattered into Saad, with his extra 14cm and 25kg frame leaving the diminutive Sun doubled over.

It didn't stop the 10-gamer for long, and before you knew it he was back on the field and on his way to completing a team-high 25 disposal game.

"I didn't really see him coming," Saad told AFL.com.au after the match.

"We promised each other that when it's our time to go, we have to go, and it was my turn."

Saad has been one of the real highlights in a horrible first half of the season for Gold Coast, with his enterprising run and dash from the back-half sparking much of its offensive run.

Coach Rodney Eade credited the first to third year players for helping to drive the team in a more positive direction following a horrific run of injuries.

That includes Saad.

"I think we've taken a massive step forward with our effort and playing as a united group," Saad said.

"We've set some goals as a team to bring the effort every week and apply the pressure, and I think the last three weeks, despite being very inexperienced, everyone's playing their role, sticking to structures and listening to what the coaches have to say.

"We're heading in the right direction."

His own rise has been nothing short of meteoric, playing for Coburg in the VFL last season, being taken by the Suns in the AFL Rookie Draft and then making his way into the best 22, even when everyone is fit.

"I still pinch myself that I'm playing AFL footy," he said.

"The coaches have given me the confidence to take the game on and do my bit for the team.

"Hopefully we can get some more wins in the second half of the season."