HE’S just a 23-year-old but Nick Butters continues to stake his claim as one of Woodford’s all-time great captains.
Butters was instrumental in his side’s third successive grand final on Sunday, blasting 84 to help the Eels to a score of 209 on Saturday.
He backed up his game-defining effort with the bat to snatch three wickets for 29 runs on Sunday, earning player-of-the-match honours.
The three-time premiership player was lost for words following the triumph, admitting “there are no words to describe it”.
He said the team was littered with talent and he often allowed bowlers to take ownership of their own field placements.
“When Kory (Howlett) bowls, he knows he has to bowl to it – I don’t. He knows what he’s going to bowl,” Butters said.
“I try to let the players have as much say as I can. Every guy in this team could captain the side. I’m just the guy that gets to flip the coin basically.
“Also, with a guy like Hooter (John Houston) he’s probably the best coach going around. Any ideas you have you can just bounce them off him.” Butters said the club was full of energy and had the perfect team balance.
“We have guys like Tommy Jackson, who is going on to bigger and better things (with Geelong Cricket Club), and also Alex Jennings, who has been one of our most important spinners for the year,” he said.
“We’ve brought about three new guys in this year, and we have a couple of older heads as well. We have your Jason Fowlers and Tom Battens.
“Other than your three older guys, you’ve got Hank (Schlaghecke) who is probably 25 and other than that, there’s probably eight who are under that.
“It’s sets us in good stead. It comes through hard work. Guys like Johnny Palmer and Ken Wines have put in the work from a junior perspective and it has just pushed us forward.”
Houston hailed Butters as the “best captain in the association” and lauded his decision-making under pressure.
Every guy in this team could captain the side. I’m just the guy that gets to flip the coin, basically.
“(Nick’s) old man made I don’t know how many hundreds in grand finals, and Nick is no different. He’s just a big-time player,” he said.
“We knew that right from the start. The way he brings people into the game is incredible. He’s not your orthodox captain, he thinks outside the square.
“We had our spinners on early on Sunday and that isn’t always a routine you go through. He backs himself in and backs the boys in and they feed off that.
“He is without doubt the best captain and as far as I’m concerned, should be captain at country week.”