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AHMED Saad isn't allowed to train with teammates until January 1, but the former St Kilda forward says an AFL-like regime will have him ready to go if he gets drafted.
Saad was hit with an 18-month suspension last November for taking a prohibited substance and was delisted by the Saints.
The ban was backdated, though, and Saad said he would be able to join in pre-season training with an AFL club on January 1.
Since his ban was handed down the 24-year-old has been training like an elite athlete to give him the best chance of rekindling his AFL dream.
"My body feels really good, I've been training with a personal trainer, which is Adam Iacobucci who was my captain at Northern Bullants," Saad said on NAB AFL Trade Radio.
"I train with him five days a week, which includes running, weights, conditioning, circuits.
"I've kind of started a mini pre-season pretty much to make sure that when I do get drafted – if I do get that chance again – that I'm ready to go, if not fitter and stronger.
"He's got me working pretty hard."
Saad played down any disadvantage of being away from the game for more than a year.
While he hasn't been able to play, Saad said his training regime had him ready to go and that his mental state was better than it had ever been.
Having fought his way onto an AFL list only for that opportunity to be taken away from him, the 24-year-old said he was hungrier than when he first entered the system.
"Being out of the game for 18 months, realistically it's just a season," he said.
"Players do their knee have to go through rehab for the next 18 months.
"I'm fit, I'm ready to go right now… I've been training since I've been banned.
"I'm hungrier… I want it more than I wanted it at the beginning because I've had a taste of AFL football."
But with no guarantees, the clever forward was open to playing anywhere.
"My manager's spoken to a couple of clubs, we've had a fair bit of interest which is good and that's something that keeps me motivated to push myself even harder," he said.
"I'd go anywhere, just like the start.
"Whether it's the national draft or the rookie draft – that's not my call.
"For now I'm controlling what I can control."