A two-time Premiership player at Hawthorn, Matt Suckling’s poise and booming left foot has been a feature of the Western Bulldogs for the past three seasons.
Originally from the rich regional sporting centre of Wagga in NSW, Suckling toiled on the Hawks Rookie List for three years before earning an AFL debut in 2009. But it was in 2011 that Suckling enjoyed a breakthrough year, with his precision kicking and link-up play making him a key to Hawthorn’s defence. This rise was acknowledged with selection in Australia’s International Rules side against Ireland, where Suckling donned the gloves as Goalkeeper.
Quickly acknowledged as one of the best kicks in the game, Suckling was one of three Hawthorn players to play every game in 2012, including the Grand Final. In the opening NAB Cup game of 2013, Suckling tore his ACL, making him one of four Hawks to suffer the injury across the season and was forced to miss the entire year and the Hawks Premiership victory in 2013.
In 2014 and 2015, Suckling played every game for the Hawks, tasting Premiership success in both seasons and kicking crucial goals at regular intervals in both finals series.
As an Unrestricted Free Agent, Suckling opted to reunite with former Hawthorn assistant, Luke Beveridge at the Western Bulldogs for season 2016. His Premiership experience proved to be a handy addition to the red, white and blue. Suckling played 17 games including the Elimination and Semi Final triumphs, before succumbing to an Achilles injury he carried for much of 2016.
Denied a third Premiership medal, Suckling returned to the line-up with instant results in 2017, playing every game to finish seventh in the Dogs Best and Fairest. Further achilles issues kept Suckling to 11 games, including his 50th for the Bulldogs, in 2018.
With a skillset and experience vital to the young side, Suckling will be an important part of the Dogs 2019 campaign.