Butler kicks on

Friday September 18, 2015

Veteran West Coast Eagles defender Sam Butler has had both his form and his fitness validated with the club extending his contract into the 2016 season.

Butler, 29, the only surviving member of the 2006 premiership team, has enjoyed perhaps his two most consistent seasons in the last two years and is looking forward to playing his role in a team that is aiming for a period of sustained success.

Drafted with selection 20 in the 2003 national ballot, Butler has dealt with more than the average number of injury concerns throughout his career, but has been unperturbed by those setbacks and has simply put his head down and worked hard. Not just hard, but smart.

He was delighted to receive an offer to extend his connection to the club mainly because it meant that key decision makers had recognised his contribution.

“First and foremost it’s nice to feel wanted,” Butler said. “I work my butt off to be the best player I can be and to be offered a contract is a nod of approval from the people who make those decisions at the club.

“My ultimate goal has not been about getting another contract, it has been about contributing to the team. I have played 15 games this season and next week it will be 16 which equals the most games I have ever played in one season.

“I feel like I have had my best pre-seasons in the last couple of years and it probably comes down to the choices I made in the off-season three or four years ago. Good pre-seasons have rolled into good seasons and I feel as energetic as I have ever done.

“You often hear people talk about the benefit of young players getting a second or third pre-season behind them and I feel the same way.”

Butler, who has played 135 games, has been an integral part of the West Coast defensive structure in the last couple of years, where his ability to read the game is an important element of the game plan.

Initially he was a clever midfielder, but he has adjusted and offers strong directional voice in the back half.

Craig Vozzo, General Manager – Football, said the club was delighted that Butler was playing some of the best and most consistent football of his career.

“Sam is a highly respected and very important player within the composition of our squad, both as a person of the highest calibre and a leader,” Vozzo said. “We have an exciting young group, but you need some experience and we have that through the likes of Sam and Matt Priddis, as well as Josh Kennedy, Shannon Hurn, Matt Rosa and Mark LeCras.

“In the last couple of years Sam has played an important role for the club in defence and he deserves the opportunity to take his career into a 13th season.”

News Source: West Coast Eagles