Matt Buntine was selected at no. 5 by the GWS Giants during the 2011 NAB AFL Draft. Buntine is a product of the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup and was also a graduate of the AIS/AFL Academy. Buntine was recruited as a defender who also has the future potential to enter the midfield. In his first year, Buntine played 6 games for the Giants.
After a strong finish to his debut season, Buntine hoped to enter the 2013 season in the same fashion. However, after a successful pre-season, Buntine sadly suffered a punctured lung and broken rib during the NAB Cup. It was a devastating blow for the young athlete however, true to his character, Buntine made a great comeback and managed to finish the season with the three senior appearances. At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Buntine was recognised as an emerging leader of the Giants; a great highlight and credit to him. Returning to full fitness in 2014, Buntine played 7 senior games as he continued to improve and develop. The young athlete showcased his ability in a 21 disposal and 12 marks appearance against Melbourne in Round 21 of that year.
Buntine’s 2015 and 2016 campaigns were further showings of development and ability by the defender, playing 23 games collectively. With further match conditioning and experience, Buntine showed signs of great maturity and growth as a defender and was able to string some strong consistent games together. Off the field, Matt was recognised as the 2015 CLEO Bachelor of the year.
2017 was a very tough year for Buntine as a partially torn ACL was discovered and consequently sidelined the promising athlete for the season. Strangely, his scans revealed that his ACL has had a partial tear in it for years. Despite this setback, Buntine has been recognised as a great individual at the club and would undergo his rehabilitation with the full support of the club. His value to the club was highlighted in the wake of his injury as the Giants extended his contract until the end of the 2019 season.
Buntine managed to return from his ACL injury to play 10 senior games in the second half of the 2018 season. Each game saw further improvement from the 25 year old which will hopefully lead to a successful 2019 season.