At a glance:
- Dan Butler was best-on-ground against Richmond on Saturday, even with a lot of chirp coming from his former side.
- Brett Ratten spoke to the former Tiger in the lead-up to Round 4 about ways to topple his old side.
- Butler admits he's in the best form he's been in throughout his AFL career.
From a footy perspective, it doesn’t get much better than coming up trumps against your old side in a best-on-ground display.
St Kilda's newest dynamo Dan Butler did just that in Saturday's emphatic 26-point victory over the reigning Premiers, booting three pivotal goals and taking out the Ian Stewart Medal off the back of his classy display.
“It was a bit of a weird one coming up against the old side,” Butler said on The Sunday Footy Show.
“I could hear everything all the [Richmond] boys were saying to me, so I wouldn’t have minded the crowd to have maybe silenced a fair few of them. There was a fair bit of chirp out there, but all in good taste and a lot of fun.
“I’ve obviously got so many great mates there, but I couldn’t be happier for us boys to put on a good four-quarter display and get the four points.”
The No. 16 has been electric in the three weeks following the season restart, charting in the best-on-ground against the Bulldogs, Magpies and Tigers to lead the Saints for goals, inside-50s, score involvements and forward-50 tackles.
Butler’s skillset was deployed to great effect to cripple Richmond on Saturday, but it was his inner knowledge of the Tigers’ set-up was also critical to Brett Ratten in bringing down the reigning Premiers.
“We kind of spoke about it a little bit during the week, just about a few different things about what Richmond like to do,” Butler said.
“Obviously we came in with a plan and that was just to match them in the contest and try to exploit them on the outside.
“We played a real good brand of footy last night and it was just pleasing that we did it for four quarters.”
Given the form the 24-year-old finds himself in, it’s staggering to think he was considered as surplus to the Tigers’ dual-Premiership stocks.
After being part of Richmond’s 2017 drought-breaking Grand Final side, Butler was unable to hold his spot down in 2019, registering just the seven games for the season.
The move to RSEA Park in exchange for pick No. 56 has spelled career-best form for the dangerous half-forward, who is set to celebrate his 50th game next Saturday against Carlton.
“Reflecting on it, I think this is probably been the best form I’ve been in,” Butler said.
“Probably the last couple of years I struggled to find that consistency in the AFL level and was in and out of AFL last year, so it was hard.
“I’m just happy to string together a couple of good games and now I’ve just got to keep it going.”