At a glance:
- Tim Membrey has heaped praise on new Saint and "true superstar" Dan Butler.
- The two forwards kicked three goals each in Saturday's 26-point win over the reigning Premiers.
- Membrey says Butler's elite work ethic from day one has been a major contributor to his red-hot form.
He’s been the talk of St Kilda for the past three weeks, and now Tim Membrey has joined in to sing his praises on new Saint Dan Butler.
The pair jagged three goals apiece against Richmond to each play a vital hand in guiding the Saints’ to a resounding 26-point victory, with Butler adding 13 disposals and a team-high seven score involvements to his name.
Butler also snared the Ian Stewart Medal for his best-on-ground performance with eight out of a possible nine votes.
“He’s a true superstar, Butts,” Membrey told AFL Grandstand.
“He was certainly copping it from all angles from the old mob, but he did well to just concentrate on his role and get the job done.”
When Richmond looked like breaking free of the Saints’ stranglehold several times throughout the match, Butler was there to re-establish control.
Whether it was a textbook crumb from a turnover, being the final link of an end-to-end chain or nailing a brilliant bender from the boundary, Butler showed he could do it all.
Bend it like Butler!— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) June 28, 2020
What a goal. pic.twitter.com/VHUNIsQVBu
The former Tiger wasn’t left to play a lone hand up forward though, with fellow smalls Jack Lonie and Dean Kent applying the squeeze and slotting two majors each to gift the Saints the four points.
St Kilda kicked nine of its 15 goals from turnovers, two of which had Butler on the receiving end.
“It was purely built on pressure around the footy,” Membrey said.
“We know that’s Richmond’s one-wood in their surge play and wanting to come out the front, but I thought our mids and our high half-forwards just applied that pressure and were able to nullify the Tiges’ going forward.”
Amid the red, white and black’s raft of signings heading into Season 2020, Butler was arguably the most unheralded recruit.
Even in-house, Butler’s skillset and impact he'd have on the side seemed to slide under the radar when compared to the likes of Bradley Hill, but that all changed the moment he stepped out onto the training track.
The unassuming Tiger’s tireless work ethic, ability to work up and down the ground and his incredible forward pressure marked him as one to watch heading into the Saints’ new era.
“He had a really strong pre-season from day-dot when he came to the club,” Membrey said.
“He just put his head down and bum up and got to work and now he’s really causing some headaches for the opposition backlines.”
Butler will be intent on turning headaches into migraines as the season progresses, but for now, will turn his attention to dismantling Carlton’s defence this Thursday night at the MCG.
Dan Butler's first four games as a Saint
Bolded number denotes team-high statistic for that game.