Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Nathan Charles Buckley

Known as
Nathan Buckley


26 July 1972 (age 51)

Place of birth
Adelaide, SA (5000)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 244d
Last game: 35y 57d

Height and weight
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 91 kg

Senior clubs
Port Adelaide; Brisbane; Collingwood; Australia; Williamstown

Jumper numbers
Brisbane: 11
Collingwood: 5

Recruited from
Port Adelaide (1993); Brisbane (1994)

State of origin

Hall of fame
Australian Football Hall of Fame (2011)

Family links
Ray Buckley (Father)

Nathan Buckley

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
Southern DistrictsNTFL1990-1991
Port AdelaideSANFL1991-199237441.19
WilliamstownVFL2005, 2007242.00
Nilma DarnumEDFNL2023100.00
VFL2005, 2007242.00
Total1990-2007, 20233243321.02

AFL: 10,376th player to appear, 141st most games played, 222nd most goals kickedBrisbane: 104th player to appear, 191st most games played, 113th most goals kickedCollingwood: 942nd player to appear, 9th most games played, 19th most goals kicked

Port Adelaide’s Nathan Buckley, widely regarded as the most talented footballer not playing in the Australian Football League, has remained tight-lipped over speculation he might play for the Brisbane Bears this season. A newspaper report said yesterday Buckley, 22, would play for Brisbane, even though he had previously said he wished to play for Collingwood and would rather stay in South Australia than go to the Bears.¹

Few footballers have enjoyed a higher profile in recent times than Nathan Buckley. The former Collingwood champion commenced his senior football with Southern Districts in the NTFL, enjoyed a stellar season in the SANFL with Port Adelaide in 1992, and was the AFL's outstanding rookie in 1993 while playing for Brisbane, but it is with the Victorian Magpies, where he amassed 260 AFL games in fourteen seasons, that his name will forever be synonymous.

Buckley hailed from a football family in that his father, Ray, had played in the SANFL with Woodville during the late 1960s and early '70s. Nathan is best remembered in South Australia for a single season of dominance in 1992 which saw him claim the Magarey Medal and help his club, Port Adelaide, to an emphatic Grand Final win over Glenelg, following which he was awarded the Fos Williams Medal for best afield. Buckley also won Port's best and fairest award that year. The season gave notice that he was an exceptional talent, and the remainder of his career only served to embellish and extend his reputation. 

Besides sharing the 2003 Brownlow Medal with Adelaide’s Mark Ricciuto and Adam Goodes of Sydney, Buckley claimed a Norm Smith Medal in a losing Grand Final team in 2001, won the Copeland Trophy as Collingwood’s best and fairest player half a dozen times (including once jointly), and made the AFL All Australian team in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2003.

The keys to Buckley's success were immense power allied to fine all round skills and an exemplary football brain. His ball handling ability was first rate, as was his kicking with both feet. He also boasted the true champion's trait of always appearing to have plenty of time in which to undertake even the most complicated of manoeuvres. An inspirational on-field leader, Buckley skippered the Magpies from 1999 until his retirement at the conclusion of the 2007 season. He was included on a half back flank in Collingwood's official 'Team of the Century'.

After several years as an assistant to Mick Malthouse, Buckley took the reins as Collingwood coach in 2012 and has remained at the helm since, steering the Magpies as far as a losing grand final against West Coast in 2018.

Author - John Devaney


1. “The Canberra Times”, 7/2/93, page 16.


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* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.