KEEN onlookers of Wednesday night’s first round of the NAB AFL National Draft might have noticed Zak Butters sitting in the draft room at Marvel Stadium with Port Adelaide’s recruiting team.
The classy midfielder/forward was keen to take in the experience and learn what it takes to spot and draft young talent.
“I’ve taken an interest in the draft this year,” Butters told portadelaidefc.com.au.
“We had another high pick as we have had the last few years and I’ve just been looking forward to getting another young kid into that next wave we have at the club with me and Connor, Xavier, Mitch, Dylan and Miles and us young boys, so I just wanted to get involved and see who we could take that would make our club better.”
Having been drafted with pick 12 in 2018, it was a different experience being on the other side of the ledger.
The 21-year-old said it was exciting to see the recruiters at work.
“It gets pretty heated with who is going to take who and they all rate the players differently,” Butters explained.
“It gets pretty intense in there when the picks and trades start rolling through.
“Our guys have been pretty good with this stuff for a while so it was good to pick their brains and learn a bit from them.”
Butters is following in the footsteps of mercurial forward Robbie Gray, who has long been interested in recruitment and was instrumental in Butters being drafted by Port Adelaide.
But Butters said he had some way to go to get to Gray’s standard of talent spotting.
“I don’t think the master has any competition,” he joked.
“Hopefully he can teach me a few things and I can learn from him.
“He’s someone I’d like to learn from as well. It’s something I’m really interested in and a path I’d like to go down later on.
“A football club is a good atmosphere to be around. I’ve got some great people to learn from so I might as well make the most of it.”
Port Adelaide picked up Josh Sinn with pick 12, having completed a trade with West Coast to move up the order and ensure Sinn would land at Alberton.
Butters met the teenager recently and the pair trained together.
He said Sinn was among the players he discussed with coach Ken Hinkley and National Recruiting Manager Geoff Parker leading into the draft.
“I spoke with Ken and Parks over the last three or four months about players we liked. Josh was one with a few others so I’m really happy we got him to the club,” Butters said.
“We had a little kick and run the other day so it was good to build that connection early and make him feel comfortable when he comes to the club.
“He was pretty excited that we drafted him, which is great to see and I’m sure the boys will welcome him.”