Port Adelaide has struck gold with their selections in the 2018 AFL Draft, but one question that divides opinion is who is better?
In reality, there is no wrong answer as Connor Rozee (pick 5), Zak Butters(pick 12) and Xavier Duursma (pick 18) have all shown their quality at the AFL level. All different types of players, the young trio has taken the AFL world by storm and have quickly become fan favourites among the Power faithful.
Everyone is going to have a favourite (Rozee for me) but in truth, they are all superb footballers in their own way. Since their debuts in 2019, the trio has continued to impress with each passing week as they have become integral parts of Ken Hinkley’s side.
Looking at their stats since they entered the league, they are solid numbers. Rozee has played 38 games booted 38 goals (29 in 2019) and he averages 14 disposals and a goal a game. Zak Butters averages 15 disposals a game and has booted 26 goals in his 38 games while Duursma averages nearly 17 touches a game and like the other two, knows his way around the goals with 19 in his 37 games.
As I touched on earlier, all three are different players. Rozee is the explosive forward who can turn a match on its head, and he is more than capable of moving into the midfield and get his fair share of touches which we will most likely see this season. Classy whenever he gets the ball and can be a true star of the competition either up forward or through the midfield.
Then there is Zak Butters, it took him a while to really get going but this season boy oh boy he has taken his game to another level and according to many, he is, without doubt, the best of the three. His 36 disposal, one-goal game against Essendon on Saturday was his breakout game.
He was simply sensational, his foot skills, his football IQ are second to none and he knows his way around the goals too. Similar to Robbie Gray when we are talking about class and the ability to find space where there is none, he is a slippery customer and tough as nails for his size. With the addition of Orazio Fantasia, Butters will surely be playing more midfield minutes like Rozee and if Saturday is anything to go by, then my word the competition is in for a treat.
Lastly, it brings us to Xavier. Rozee and Butters are the forward/midfield prototype whereas Duursma is your typical wingman. His toughness can never be questioned and the fact that he took Brad Ebert’s No.7 tells you just how highly regarded he is at Alberton. Not as classy as the other two but that by no means diminishes his value to the team or his talent.
His gut running up and down his wing is a sight to behold and he rarely makes a bad decision but because of the fanfare and razzle-dazzle of Rozee and Butters, he perhaps gets lost in the crowd when it comes to his talent. His celebrations are something that we all love to see and I think many would agree that Port has their wing position set for the next decade with Duursma.
As I said earlier, there is no wrong answer when it comes to who is the best out of the 2018 draft class for Port, but one thing is for sure, Port Adelaide have clearly hit on all three of their top 20 picks and with each passing game, they somehow continue to get better and better.
For me, they are all 200 plus gamers in the AFL. Rozee is the best of the bunch for me but Butters is quickly catching him.