Butler returns to St Pat’s a premiership player, but no cup

“Hopefully I can get my hands on it and bring it back sometime.”

They were the words Richmond premiership player and Ballarat boy Dan Butler said with a grin in regards to bringing the premiership cup to Ballarat.

After the Tigers’ drought-breaking triumph over Adelaide in the AFL grand final, Richmond fans all over the country would be hoping to get a first-hand look at the cup – unfortunately, those in Ballarat will not get such access.

Butler returned home to chat to some boys at his former school of St Patrick’s College on Thursday.

When asked about Ballarat’s premiership cup snub he said with tongue-in-cheek that he would try and bring it here himself.

On a more serious note, Butler was rapt to come home and visit the school that played such a huge role in his life, particularly his junior football years.

“It’s good to get back here, there’s a few new buildings so it looks a bit different, but it’s good to see the old faces,” Butler said.

“They were really good to me for the six years, I’m so lucky to be a part of this school and it’s good to get back when I can.”

St Patrick’s College senior football coach Howard Clark was one of the biggest influences on Butler’s journey and someone he remains in regular contact with.

“We were introduced to each other when I was in year 7 and we were pretty close all the way through school.

Richmond's Dan Butler (second from left) and West Coast's Liam Duggan (far right) with the St Patrick's College students. Picture: St Patrick's College.

Richmond's Dan Butler (second from left) and West Coast's Liam Duggan (far right) with the St Patrick's College students. Picture: St Patrick's College.

“When I was playing and he was coaching we formed a pretty close bond and we still speak a fair bit now and keep in contact, he’s been really good for my footy and me as a person.

“I speak to him every month or so. We just talk about footy and outside of footy with how things are going – he’s been a really good mentor for me and someone I really look up to.”

Butler watched the game for the first time last week and even then was still left pinching himself.

The 21-year-old said the best part since the final siren had been spending private time with his friends and family in the rooms after the match, away from the prying eyes of fans and media.

“It still hasn’t sunk in. I watched the game last week and even after watching that it still hasn’t really sunk in.

“Just being in the rooms with everyone, with friends and family after the game. Just being with all the people that have supported you all year, it was a real privilege to be with all of them.

“It’s a pretty special feeling. All your parents and family have watched you grow up over the years and to see you get the ultimate glory in AFL footy, it’s something they can be really proud of, we all can.”