By Todd Whelan
Darley Junior Football Club product ZAK BUTTERS is on his way to Port Adelaide following his pick 12 selection in last night’s AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium.
The highly touted 18-year old was chosen on the back of his excellent form with the Western Jets and at representative level with Vic Metro in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.
Butters played his entire 108 game junior career with the Devils dating back to 2008 before graduating to the Seniors for a brief (yet unforgettable) five game stint around his Western Jet commitments. Zak was a member of the Devils 2017 Ballarat Football League Premiership team.
Darley Coach Heath Scotland was upbeat and excited for Zak and his prospects ahead of the draft.
“Zak Butters is an elite footballer.” he said.
“He’s got all the attributes – skill, balance, versatility and wins his own ball.”
“(Zak) is a player that always looks as though he has plenty of time and space, is a good decision maker and excellent ball user.
“He’s a great sense of character, mentally tough and resilient.
“I’m confident he will flourish in a full-time AFL environment,” Scotland said.
Darley Football Manager Craig Baker was aware of Butters’ prodigious talent at an early age after the young gun won the Under 14 Ballarat Football League Best and Fairest as a bottom age player. But it would be an observation of another kind that would have Baker singing his praises.
“Zak went up in my estimation this year when he would turn up and be ‘the runner’ for his mates in the Darley Under 18s when the (Western) Jets weren’t playing,” he said.
“When he had his shoulder surgery after the Metro Championships, he would sit in the Darley coaches’ box and do the stats for the seniors,”
“Not many young men who were going to get drafted would do that,” Baker said.
Zak will put his landscape gardening career on hold for now as he embarks on every young footballer’s dream – to play in the AFL.
If the glowing endorsements of Zak are anything to go by, the dream will soon be reality.