Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters expressed his profound disappointment at missing this year’s AFL Grand Final to the extent that he couldn’t bring himself to watch it at the MCG. Although he attended pre-match events, he left before the game began, driving back from Melbourne to Darley with friends. Port Adelaide’s season concluded with a loss to GWS in a home semi-final.
Butters, who recently won his first John Cahill Medal as the Power’s best-and-fairest, had a stellar season. He also secured the AFL Coaches Association’s Player of the Year honor, the players’ association’s Most Courageous award, and finished equal-fourth in the Brownlow Medal.
While Butters’ contract expires at the end of the next season, the Power is confident about his long-term commitment to the club. Butters spoke positively about his connection to the club, the promising mix of young and senior players, and the desire to be part of the team’s future success.
Regarding potential captaincy aspirations, Butters remained noncommittal, indicating that such decisions would be made by those in higher positions.
During his time away from the AFL, Butters found solace and motivation in training, particularly when he watched his junior club, Darley, win the Ballarat league grand final. He had hardly stopped training since the defeat to the Giants.
Butters expressed gratitude for his medal win and acknowledged the significant role that Coach Ken Hinkley has played in his career, both in terms of football and personal development.
He also highlighted his involvement with Ronald McDonald House and the positive impact it had on him, particularly his bond with a young cancer patient. During the off-season, Butters planned to challenge himself by walking the Kokoda Track.
Looking ahead, he believed the Power had the potential to contend for a premiership in 2024 but stressed the importance of taking action to make that a reality.