He may have been overlooked in the 2017 AFL Draft, but waiting an extra year gave new Crow Jordon Butts a senior premiership he’ll never forget.
Jordon grew up in Shepparton, in country Victoria – a town of 50,000 with four football clubs, four soccer clubs and a thriving basketball scene.
He had his options, but for Jordon, it was always going to be the Shepparton Bears that became his second home outside of his TAC Cup duties with the Murray Bushrangers.
After all, his father Gerard was part of the premiership side who secured the victory for the Bears in the dying seconds of their 1993 clash with Rochester.
So, it was a no-brainer for Jordon to follow in his father’s footsteps at the Bears, where he played most of his junior football.
But it wasn’t until after he missed out on the draft that he had his chance to make history of his own back home in Shepparton.
Twenty-five years after his dad celebrated a premiership with the Bears, so did Jordon.
And just like the 1993 nail-biter, the 2018 premiership went down to the wire, with the Bears taking the game by just two points.
“The grand final was probably the best game I’ve ever played in, I’m a very proud Shepparton Bear player,” Jordon said.
“It was great to win a flag with all the older fellas and all my mates from my home town was just awesome.
“Dad had his 93’ GF reunion about a week or two before hand… it was great to follow in his footsteps of what he’s achieved, he was a pretty proud father.”
As disappointed as he was to miss out on being drafted last year, 2018 turned out to be a critical year for Jordon back home.
“It was a bit of a disappointment, but I was more than happy to come back to the Murray Bushrangers and the Bears for another year and I’ve learnt a lot about myself and as a player and developed my game,” he said.
“I learnt a lot from that extra year about myself and what I need to do to get that next level.”
When he found himself selected in the rookie draft at the end of 2018 with a big move to Adelaide ahead of him, Jordon was more than ready.
“Being a country boy, I was going to move out next year anyway, so I was prepared to make that move and I was excited to move down to Adelaide,” he said.
“It’s exciting – it’s something you work hard for your whole junior career and it’s a childhood dream come true.
“Waking up every morning, knowing you’re doing something you love is awesome.”