Legendary Seymour forward Saad Saad has walked away from football.
The spectacular goal-kicker, one of the best in Goulburn Valley League history, informed the club of his decision yesterday.
It continues a bizarre situation that heated up last week when Seymour knocked back three clearances from Peninsula Football League club Pines for Saad.
But Seymour playing coach Brent Colbert believed Saad’s shock call had nothing to do with that and it was simply a matter of thinking his body could no longer hold up to the rigours of football.
This is despite Saad, 34, making an excellent return to the GVL this year after a season away from Kings Park.
He has booted 43 goals in nine games, including nine in his last outing against Shepparton Swans, and sits second on the league goal-kicking table behind Kyabram star Kayne Pettifer.
‘‘He said he’s struggling to get up week to week and you’ve got to respect his decision,’’ Colbert said.
‘‘I was pretty shocked and we all didn’t see it coming, but he’s made the call and we’ve already addressed it with the players and we’ve got to move on because we’ve still got a massive season ahead of us.’’
Saad didn’t play in Seymour’s loss to Shepparton at Deakin Reserve on Saturday.
Colbert said the club initially offered Saad two weeks off to freshen up, but he has since decided against returning to the field again.
The Seymour supremo said he did not try to talk his premiership teammate out of the decision, believing his mind had already been made up.
If Saad did do a back flip on the call, Colbert said the club would worry about that then, but the Lions were already planning for life without him.
‘‘He’s a three-time premiership player for us, he’s kicked about 900 goals and he’s had all the accolades in the GVL, so he’s certainly going to be hard to replace, but it’s important not to stew over it,’’ Colbert said.
Colbert said the situation with Pines was a ‘‘non-story’’ and he did not understand why that club kept pursuing Saad.
The main link at Pines is former Seymour champion Paul Scanlon, who played in premierships with Saad at the Lions and the pair have a history going back 15 years.
Key forward Tim Bongetti, who had a season at Seymour in 2015 with Saad and Scanlon, is also at Pines.
The club sits on top of the PFL ladder with nine wins after 11 rounds.
Scanlon said the pair were talking at Seymour’s recent reunion for the 2007 flag and Saad informed him of his retirement plans .
‘‘He (Saad) wanted to give it away, he was not feeling great with his body, he’s busy with work and he just said to me ‘I might retire’,’’ Scanlon said.
‘‘I said to him to put a clearance into my club (Pines) before they close and if you decide to play again this year, then you can.
‘‘Seymour have said he’s a contracted player and they won’t clear him, but he’s given so much to that footy club.
‘‘I haven’t been happy with some of the talk saying I’ve targeted him to come to the club because that’s just not the case at all.
‘‘I was just acting as a mate and I was more saying if you are calling it quits, put in a clearance before they close and if you change your mind and do want to have a kick again and a play a game or two this year, then you have that option.’’
Saad has been contacted for comment.