Shepparton News

Jordy out to kick more butts

SHEPPARTON GRADUATE KEEN TO CONTINUE OUTSTANDIN­G FORM TAKING DOWN STAR FORWARDS NEXT YEAR

- By Zac Standish

Coming into this season, Shepparton product Jordon Butts was somewhat of an unknown quantity in AFL circles, having played two senior games in his first two years at Adelaide.

Fast forward to season’s end and the 21-year-old has quickly made a name for himself as one of the competitio­n’s most exciting young key defenders, having lined up at full-back in every game for the Crows.

Along the way Butts has claimed some of the league’s biggest scalps, keeping the likes of Tom Hawkins, Charlie Dixon, Harry McKay and Aaron Naughton in check as the Crows surprised many to chalk up seven wins.

Recognised this year with a ninth-place in Adelaide’s best-and-fairest, while also being named as a member of the AFL Players’ Associatio­n’s 22 under 22 squad, the AFL world is beginning to take notice of the former Bear.

However, despite the individual accolades Butts said all he was focused on was doing his job for the team.

“It was definitely good to get a little bit of recognitio­n, but week in and week out all I want to do is my role for the team and help my team win,” Butts said.

“Having my name up there (near the top of the leaderboar­d) and to be noticed by people outside the club is always good to see, but what matters most is what I am doing inside the club and I am just happy I managed to play every game for the Crows this season and contribute.”

Striding out to the defensive goal square in round one, it certainly was a baptism of fire for the young defender as he described how his game evolved throughout the season.

“Comparing round one to the final round, the biggest thing for me has just been confidence — my first few games there certainly were a few nerves settling in, but the more I played the more comfortabl­e I got out there and I started believing I belong at the level,” he said.

“Obviously learning from my teammates as well and facing different opponents and how to tackle them, it has had a big impact on my game and given me the confidence to use my strengths out there on the field.”

Having played on the who’s who of key forwards this season, Butts said there was no one opponent that stood out above the rest.

“I can’t really narrow one down to be honest, as you always have to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

“Every week is a task and it is always hard, every team has a good key forward and it is my job to try and limit their inf luence.”

With long-time defensive stalwart Daniel Talia now moving on from the club, Butts will officially be handed the keys to the Crows’ back six next year, which is something he said excited him.

“It is sad to see him leave, I was hoping to play a fair bit more footy with him having only had the chance to do it on a couple of occasions, but I suppose with him being injured this year I was the one that had to step up and take on those big forwards,” he said.

“This season has been a great education for me and, moving forward, I am excited to just keep going and developing my game by playing on those numberone key forwards.”

The latest Goulburn Valley export to make a splash at AFL level, he detailed his football journey coming up through the Shepparton program.

“I started playing footy in primary school before going out to the Shepparton Bears and went through the thirds system and played a few senior games as well, making my debut when I was 15 years,” Butts said.

“The Bears have been a great club for me and I am very grateful I got to train with those guys and win a senior premiershi­p with them which was one of the best footy moments of my life, being the only flag I have won so far.”

Now preparing for this fourth pre-season, he highlighte­d the areas of his game he would be looking to improve and his plans for this period of time off.

“I just want to get a bit stronger and a bit fitter and also look to take my leadership to another level amongst the team throughout the pre-season and really help out the other guys in defence,” he said.

“If it all clears up I am planning to get back home for a little bit, but as it sits I am just happy to stick out the off-season in Adelaide and train with the boys — that’s what I did last year and it definitely worked, so I will be looking to just keep working hard and have some fun.”

 ?? Picture: AAP ?? Rising star: Shepparton product Jordon Butts enjoyed a stellar season this year for the Crows.
Picture: AAP Rising star: Shepparton product Jordon Butts enjoyed a stellar season this year for the Crows.

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