Former AFL great Kane Cornes has highlighted the performance of Port youngster Zak Butters in his opening JLT hitout.
Taken with pick No. 12 in his last year’s draft, Butters impressed in the Power’s loss to the Crows on Saturday, racking up 25 disposals, five marks and four tackles.
The 18-year old missed the second half of 2018 due to a shoulder reconstruction, but is now putting his hand up to feature in Ken Hinkley’s best 22.
Cornes was so encouraged by what he saw from the rookie on the weekend that he has labelled Butters a lock for round one.
“Gotta say, someone I like from Port Adelaide, was the story of the day, I think,” Cornes told SEN SA Breakfast.
“Finally they’ve got a good number 18 down there.
“Wasn’t he impressive? Just stamped his ticket for Round 1.
“He’s the kid that Robbie Gray said to the recruiters, ‘you’ve just got to get him’.
“I don’t know how Robbie got a hold of him and discovered him but he was big on getting this young kid and now he’s serving as a mentor for him.
“Super impressive, 25 disposals, 6 of those contested. He had a very good goal assist early on to Sam Mayes. He’ll be there Round 1.”
Cornes was also impressed with Port’s other draftees Connor Rozzee (pick No. 5) and Xavier Duursma (pick No.18).
“A couple of other young kids just showed enough,” he said.
“Connor Rozee, wasn’t a big game for him, just the six possessions but has shown enough that he will be there.
“I actually like Rozee across half-back from what I’ve seen at North Adelaide. But they’ll persist with him forward and through the midfield.
“(Xavier) Duursma as well (nine possessions). I’m not sure he’ll hold his place when (Matthew) Broadbent and some more experienced players come back in.
“But has a bright future as well.”