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ESSENDON has secured the second of its three trade targets after sending a future second-round pick to Gold Coast in exchange for speedy half-back Adam Saad.
The Bombers can now turn their focus entirely to Jake Stringer and breaking a deadlock with the Western Bulldogs that threatens to drag on until the final day of the NAB AFL Trade Period.
Saad nominated the Bombers as his preferred club early in the Trade Period, with Gold Coast then attempting to work the dashing defender into a deal for the Bombers' pick No.11.
Greater Western Sydney beat them to the punch for pick No.11, but a deal had since looked likely for a second-round pick, allowing Saad his wish of a return to Melbourne.
"I’d like to thank the Gold Coast Suns for not only giving me an opportunity of a lifetime but also for understanding my desire to return to Victoria," Saad told the Suns' website.
"My decision had nothing to do with the love and respect I have for the Suns, its players, staff and the community that welcomed me, but was solely about my family and faith.
"I wish the club all the very best in the future."
Saad's manager Marty Pask said Essendon's desire to move Rising Star winner Andrew McGrath from half-back into the midfield created an opening for the speedster.
"In the end, the decision, looking at their list and what they want to do from the back half (of the field) was pretty clear for us that they had a need for a small defender and one that had some leg speed and ability to run and carry. We feel that's obviously Adam's strength," he told NAB AFL Trade Radio.
The Bombers held two second-round picks in next year's draft after acquiring a future pick from GWS in the Devon Smith trade.
Saad, who was also pursued by Carlton, was selected by the Suns with pick No.25 in the 2014 rookie draft.
The 23-year-old has played the majority of his 48 games at half-back where his pace became a weapon.
A hamstring injury restricted Saad to just 10 games in 2016.
"We entered the exchange period wanting to do the right thing by Adam and him of us," Gold Coast list manager Scott Clayton said.
"We have been working with him for some time to ease the cultural sensitivities that come with living away from family in what is a relatively unique case for him in our game.
"We are proud of the player and person Adam has become after drafting him onto our rookie list as a 21-year-old and we wish him all the best in the future."
It’s a pleasure to welcome @adamsaad__1 to the Bombers. A great addition who will add real value to our back half with his run & carry, and great ball use & defensive mindset. Welcome to the Bombers, Adam. pic.twitter.com/upG0gEpbAr— Xavier Campbell (@XCampbell79) October 16, 2017
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