Zak Butters has extended his time at Alberton, committed until at least the end of 2026. Image: Matt Sampson.

PORT ADELAIDE midfielder Zak Butters has made the ‘easy decision’ to commit to the club until at least the end of 2026. 

After being taken by the Power at number 12 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, the 23-year-old has become a fan-favourite at Alberton, making a name for himself as a clever and courageous player.  

Butters spoke with the Adelaide media on Monday detailing his decision to sign on, what the future of the club looks like and how he wants to improve on-field.  

Butters on the decision to extend 
“It was a pretty easy decision. I love the playing group, love where the club's heading, got some really good friends here now. Pretty settled here in Adelaide and I've got a good relationship with the coaching group as well so I feel like it covered all points for me. It was good to get it done before the season gets going so I can just focus on football and keep trying to win games and keep trying to get deep into finals.” 


Butters on his relationships at the club 
“(Ken and I) keep in contact pretty regularly, about other stuff as well (not just football) and he made it pretty easy and knowing he had signed on for a couple more years (helped) as well. Really looking forward to playing under him hopefully for a couple more years and alongside Connor (Rozee) and some of the other guys like Ollie (Wines) and Darcy (Byrne-Jones) and Trav (Boak) and Charlie (Dixon), I've got some really good relationships with them. It felt like it was a good mix between us younger boys and even the new draftees coming in, it's really exciting for the footy club.” 

Butters on the re-signing process 
“I think the club and (my manager) have been in communication for a little bit now and yeah, in the end it was pretty cruisey and I'm glad to get it done. I never really like waiting too long and I like to just get it done and focus on footy, playing footy with my teammates and just training hard.” 

Butters on the future of the club 
“I think we have to keep showing up and getting better. I think you look at all the good teams in the last few years like Brisbane, and even before that, Geelong, they just keep showing up and getting back there and eventually they get their chance, so I feel like as a footy club, we just strive to get better. It's pretty cliché but everyone's come back in good nick and already training at a high level so it's really exciting. 

“Definitely me and Connor (have spoken about it) over the years, we signed up together so you always speak about things and go through the journey together. Throughout the year with Horney (Jason Horne-Francis) coming in last year and signing a pretty big deal and Miles (Bergman) recommitting during the year, I think it’s really good for the footy club and the direction we're going in and I think those young players are going to be vital to taking us that step forward and hopefully me and Connor can help guide that a bit as well.” 

Butters on Connor Rozee’s future 
“I'm sure Connor's in a similar boat with his management and the footy club as well. He's an Adelaide boy so I don't think he'll be going anywhere any time soon. He loves the place and he's got a fiancé now and they've got a few dogs and a nice house so I think he's pretty settled.” 

Butters on resisting heading home to Victoria 
“Not really to be honest, I've loved Adelaide and have been here a long time now. I've got some really good support back in Victoria and they still come over and see me a fair bit. Lucky enough to have some good family members and really good friends who come over and watch some games and visit me and the footy club makes it really easy for me to get back and see them when the time's right as well, so I feel like I've got a really good balance. I like being in Adelaide where I just focus on my footy and getting (to Victoria) when I can in my breaks and switching off a bit so I feel like over the years I've found a good balance.” 

Fully settled in South Australia, Zak Butters enters 2024 as one of the most exciting players in the competition. Image: Matt Sampson.

Butters on his off-season and pre-season focus 
“It's pretty simple I think, you just have to get better. The game evolves so quickly and you've probably seen the way it keeps getting better and faster and players are getting cleaner and tougher so I think as a player you have no other option other than to get better or you sort of get left behind. I think now I've got to continue to develop my game (as an) individual, but also helping my teammates improve and making the team better because at the end of the day, if you're a better team, it’s probably going to make you a better player as well.” 

Butters on looking up to one club players 
“It's definitely something I looked up to growing up. I went for the Western Bulldogs and a lot of guys like Bob Murphy and Matt Boyd so growing up I definitely looked up to one-club players, so it's something I'd like to be a part of some day. At the moment, I'm pretty happy with the way I've committed, I'm here for another three years in Adelaide so I'm pretty stoked about that.” 

Butters on the new recruits 
“Definitely exciting, there are some big boys out there, I like that! I think they fit what we needed really well and they'll complement the group really well. They're not just really good players, they're good people and I think that's what the club's been really good at with recruiting. I'm looking forward to playing with them and it's nice to have a few ruckmen and a few key defenders so I'm sure they’ll make us better going forward.” 

Draftee Xavier Walsh pictured at training. Image: Matt Sampson.

Butters on the shape of the squad 
“These days, no-one doesn't come back in good nick. Like I said, the game's moving so fast and if you don’t come back in good nick, you're a fair bit behind the ball. I think Willem Drew, he always comes back and is ready to go and he's a fierce competitor as well so I love training with him. Some of the new draftees have shown some good things as well, pretty quick little buggers to catch so it's going to be a long pre-season chasing some of the little high forwards around which should be fun.” 

Butters on leadership 
“I think naturally over the last year or two I've probably focused on (leadership) more as a player and really just tried to help others. What capacity that is going forward, I'm not quite sure but naturally I like to train hard and set the tone and play as a bit of leader and sort of inspire my teammates so I think moving forward, in what way that is, I'm not sure.” 

Butters on improving his own game 
“As a player, I definitely think my midfield craft and my stoppage craft can still grow a lot. I'm a footy nut so I often think about these things 24/7. My hands, my kicking, my running ability, I think everything can improve. When you look at the good players around the competition – Petracca, Boaky over the years, Bontempelli – they all still get better and keep rocking up and finding ways to get better. Defensively as well, being more of a defender in that midfield and laying more tackles and helping out more in that area. Probably giving Willem Drew a bit of a chop out, he does a fair bit of that stuff so I think there's a number of ways and that's what's so exciting, and that's what drives me every year.”