Matt Suckling

Matthew Suckling (born 25 July 1988) is an Australian rules footballer who plays for the Western Bulldogs in the Australian Football League (AFL). Suckling is known as a player with precision kicking and link-up play from the Bulldog's defence. Characteristic of his style of play is his very long range, very accurate kicking.[1]

Matt Suckling
Suckling playing for the Western Bulldogs in April 2018
Personal information
Date of birth (1988-07-25) 25 July 1988
Place of birth Wagga Wagga, New South Wales
Original team(s) East Wagga-Kooringal (Riverina Football League)
Wagga Tigers (AFL Canberra)
Draft No. 81, 2009 rookie draft
Height 186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 82 kg (181 lb)
Position(s) Defender
Club information
Current club Western Bulldogs
Number 1
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2009–2015 Hawthorn 102 (51)
2016– Western Bulldogs 069 (31)
Total 171 (82)
International team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2011 Australia 2 (0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2019.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2011.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Early life

Hailing from Wagga Wagga, Suckling played football with Isaac Smith in the Wagga Hawks for several years before both moved to the Wagga Tigers where they won two premierships.


First drafted by the club at pick 22 in the 2007 Rookie Draft. He was struck down by osteitis pubis for most of 2007 but was retained on the rookie list for 2008. Suckling was redrafted to Hawthorn's rookie list by the club at pick 81 in the 2009 Rookie Draft.[2]

At the 2009 rookie draft, where Hawthorn had agreed to redraft Suckling; the club mistakenly read out the wrong player registration number and accidentally selected the Sandringham Dragons' best-and-fairest player, Matthew Suckling[3]

He was then finally drafted to Hawthorn's senior list with pick 70 in the 2009 AFL Draft.


He made his debut for Hawthorn in the opening round of the 2009 AFL season in the rematch of the 2008 AFL Grand Final against Geelong.[4] The 20-year-old defender was one of three Hawks playing their first game in the MCG blockbuster.[4] Omitted the next week because of injury, Suckling was unable to break back into the side; he was listed as an emergency later in the year. In 2010 he played five games, and was on the verge of selection for most of the season.

2011 was a breakthrough year for Suckling; with his precision kicking and link-up play he became a key to Hawthorn's defence. Characteristic of his style of play is his very long range, very accurate kicking.[1]

Suckling was selected as the Australia international rules football team's goalkeeper for the 2011 International Rules Series in Australia. Australia lost the series 2–0, with a 130–65 aggregate score. Suckling was one of two Hawthorn players selected for the team, along with Liam Shiels.

Suckling was one of three Hawthorn players to play every game in 2012.

During the 2013 NAB Cup pre season competition Suckling tore his anterior cruciate ligament whilst playing against Richmond. Suckling missed the entire 2013 season due to the injury that required a full knee reconstruction.

Suckling returned to the side in 2014, and would go on to claim his elusive premiership medal in the clubs 2014 Grand Final win. He followed this up with a premiership win in 2015, starting the game as a substitute and coming on late in the third quarter for David Hale; with the abolition of the substitute rule at the end of the 2015 AFL season, this meant that Suckling became the last player to be substituted into a game. Following the Grand Final, Suckling exercised his right as a free agent and joined the Western Bulldogs. In his first season at the Western Bulldogs Suckling was unfortunate to miss the Preliminary Final and Grand Final victories with an Achilles injury


Statistics are correct to the end of the 2014 season[5]
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2009 Hawthorn 421005914200.
2010 Hawthorn 315014231731660.
2011 Hawthorn 3123811351140491138450.30.515.
2012 Hawthorn 4251611333166499140400.60.413.36.620.05.61.6
2013 Hawthorn 40
2014 Hawthorn 423128306173479113320.50.313.37.520.84.91.4
Career 77 36 31 1037 519 1556 409 123 0.5 0.4 13.5 6.7 20.2 5.3 1.6

Honours and achievements


  1. Belkin, Murrary (16 May 2011). "Suckling steps up". Hawthorn Football Club. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  2. Malone, Matt (17 December 2008). "Riverina players picked". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  3. "Kicking back".
  4. Boulton, Martin (27 March 2009). "The Hawks give three new faces the go-ahead". The Age. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  5. Matt Suckling's player profile at AFL Tables
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