As one of the greatest players ever for Australia’s biggest and most famous sporting club, the mighty Pies, Collingwood, Nathan Buckley had a stellar 280 game career that saw him earn recognition as one of the game's greats.
The tiny kid who moved to Darwin at the age of three went on to become one of the greatest players of any era and started his football career with the Nightcliff Tigers in the NTFL Junior competition before transferring to Southern Districts Football Club in 1989/90.
A standout talent, he soon earned representative honours and he played in the NT’s Primary Schoolboys Representative teams in 1983 and 1984. He also represented the NT a number of times at senior level against Hawthorn in 1991, Geelong in 1992 and Melbourne in 1993. Nathan Buckley’s representative honour roll continued throughout his AFL career as he represented the NT against Tasmania in 1993 and captained the Allies twice in 1997 and 1999.
In 1997 he won the Alex Jesaulenko Medal as Allies Best Player in the game against Western Australia.
He played a number of Premier League games for Southern Districts in the NTFL and in the 1990/91 season he won the Club Best and Fairest and Leading Goal Kicker Award in the same season.
Nathan Buckley joined SANFL club Port Adelaide in 1991 where his famed debut season for Port in 1992 saw his sheer hard work, dedication and determination pay off as he became a Premiership player. He won the Jack Oatey Medal for best on ground in the Grand Final, the Magarey medal as the SANFL’s Best and Fairest.
In 1993 Nathan Buckley was drafted by Brisbane and played 20 games for the club, winning the AFL’s Rising Star Award before moving to his beloved Magpies in 1994. The man they call Bucks played 260 games for the Magpies and each game was played with 100 percent commitment to the black and white cause.
Throughout his famous career, Nathan Buckley won Collingwood’s Club Best and Fairest, the prestigious Copeland Medal a record six times in 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999 2000 and 2003 and was Club Captain from 1999 until 2007.
He won the Brownlow Medal in 2003 sharing the win with fellow greats Adam Goodes and Mark Ricciuto.
Buckley played in Collingwood’s 2002 and 2003 Grand Final Teams, winning the Norm Smith Medal in the 2002 game despite being on the losing side.
Nathan Buckley was named an AFL All-Australian seven times in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003, a year that also saw him named the AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year and he Captained Australia against Ireland in 1999.
In 1997 Nathan Buckley was named in Collingwood’s Team of the Century and in 2011 was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.
Retiring in 2007 he rejoined Collingwood as an assistant coach in 2010, a year that saw the Pies win the flag and in 2012 he became the first Territory footballer to become a senior coach in the AFL.