Nathan Buckley – Retired Australian Rules football Player

Known by the nicknames ‘The Favourite Son’, ‘The Great One’ and ‘Buck’ was a champion player of Collingwood Football Club.

nathan buckleyBorn on July 26, 1972, Nathan Charles Buckley was a former captain of Collingwood and currently holds the position of senior coach for the same club. Mike Sheahan, a journalist, listed Buckley as one of the best 50 players of AFL of all times.

Throughout his career as a player, Buckley collected various awards and achievements, the most important of which is the Brownlow Medal in 2002 despite the fact that he played for the losing team. This made him the third player in the history of VFL/AFL to have achieved this feat.

Playing Career

Buckley’s talents as a potential player of Australian football grabbed the attention of Port Adelaide, a South Australian National Football League club. Playing for Port Adelaide, he won the Magarey Medal and his senior premiership in 1992.

He also won the Jack Oatey Medal as well as the Best and Fairest award of his club. These achievements attracted the attention of Brisbane Bears his AFL career started.

1992 Drafting – Brisbane Bears

Brisbane Bears drafted Buckley in 1992. Soon after drafting, Buckley went on to spark a controversy by challenging the drafting system. His motive was to play in Melbourne because he liked their playing culture. However, Buckley’s tricky move did not work out and he had to stick with the Bears and eventually signed in for 1993 AFL season.

However, Nathan Buckley made a deal with the Bears, which stated that Buckley was free to move to a club of his choice in the following season. He immediately made an impression, won the Norwich Rising Star Award in 1993 after playing 20 matches and kicking 21 goals, and ended up in second position for the Best and Fairest of Brisbane Bears.

By the end of 1992 season, the contract between Buckley and Bears was known to every other AFL team and Buckley already attracted the attention of many Melbourne-based clubs.

1994-2007 – Collingwood

A secret deal between Collingwood and Bears eventually landed Nathan Buckley in the Collingwood Club. In exchange, Collingwood had to give Troy Lehmann and Craig Starcevich to the Bears. Nathan Buckley strongly believed that he could deliver his best performance with Collingwood, however, during his first season with the club; Collingwood was eliminated from AFL by West Coast Eagles.

Since that loss, Buckley started giving a consistence performance. Before the turn of the century, he finished in top 3 players two times and won the Brownlow Medal in 2003 despite the fact that Brisbane Bears defeated Collingwood in the Grand Final of 2003.

He went on to win the Best and Fairest award of Collingwood for 10 times and ended up in All Australian Team 6 times in a row from 1996 to 2002.

In 1999, Nathan Buckley was made the captain of Collingwood. In 2000, Collingwood ended 15 position and in 9th position in 2001. In 2002, Collingwood made it to the finals but lost the Grand Final to Brisbane Bears. That year he won the Norm Smith Medal despite being a part of the losing team – a feat that was achieved in 1989 by Gary Albett.

In 2003, Collingwood once again lost to Brisbane Bears in the Grand Finals but Buckley ended up winning the highest individual honour – the Brownlow Medal despite being a part of the losing team. Seasons 2004 and 2005 were absolutely terrible for Buckley as the skipper of Collingwood. Several injuries prevented him from performing at his best.

He did play several games from 2004 to 2007 only to announce his retirement on October 5, 2007, which was 3 weeks after Collingwood lost to Geelong in preliminary finals.

As a Coach

Buckley was recruited as a coach for Collingwood on a 5-year contract. For 2010 and 2011, he remained the assistant coach, finally becoming the head coach in 2012. In 2012 season, Buckley led the team to the semi-finals where they lost to Sydney. 2013 was not great for Buckley. Collingwood finished 6th on the ladder with 8-recorded losses and 14 wins.

In March 2014, Collingwood extended Nathan Buckley’s contract until 2016 but 2014 season did not start well for Buckley and in Round 1, Collingwood lost for Fremantle – previous year’s grand finalist. As of now they are in 6th position on the ladder.

Media Presence

Nathan Buckley appeared as a panellist in AFL Footy Show. He also became a commentator with Seven Network for AFL Season of 2008. In 2008, Australian Grand Prix held in Melbourne he appeared as a Celebrity racer and ended in 2nd position. He has also been a central character in one of the advertising campaigns by Unwired – a provider of wireless broadband.

Awards And Achievements

Nathan Buckley has a long list of awards and achievements under his belt. Here is a quick list of his achievements and awards throughout his playing career:

  • Brownlow Medal: won in 2003, ended 5th in 1996, ended 2nd in 1998 and ended 3rd in 1999.
  • Won Norm Smith Medal in 2002.
  • Won Rising Star Award in 1993.
  • Won Collingwood Best and Fairest in 1994, 1996, 1998-99, 2000 and 2003.
  • Won RT Rush Trophy in 1997.
  • Won JJ Joyce Trophy in 2001.
  • Became a member of Collingwood Team of the Century.
  • Captain of Collingwood from 1997 to 2007.
  • Ended 2nd in Best and Fairest of Brisbane Bears in 1993.
  • Was a member of All Australian Team from 1996-2001 and 2003.
  • Was the Vice Captain of All Australian Team for 1999, 2000 and 2003.
  • Captained the International Rules series in 1999.
  • Won the Alex Jesaulenko Medal in 1997.
  • Captained ‘The Allies’ in 1997.
  • 1992: Won the Magarey Medal, Jack Oatey Medal and the Best and Fairest award of Port Adelaide as part of South Australian National Football League.
  • 1992: SANFL Premiership wins with Port Adelaide.

Nathan Buckley is one of best players of AFL. He did not really manage to grab any AFL premiership victory throughout his playing career but his skills as a great player will always be remembered and will continue to motivate many current and future AFL players.

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