Buckley is one of eight changes for Saturday’s crucial clash with the Melbourne Demons at the Gabba.

02:00 Mins
Published on

Virgin Australia Team Selection: Round 17

A special Members Week announcement of our team that will take on the Demons in round 17.

Published on

Josh Kelly, Zac Williams, Brent Daniels and Harry Perryman will all return from injury while Shane Mumford has been recalled after being managed last week.

Tom Green comes in for his fifth game of the season along with second-year defender Connor Idun, in for his second game.

Coach Leon Cameron said he and the coaching staff were focused on taking in the strongest possible team for an important match against the Dees. 

“Saturday night is essentially our first final against the Demons and we’re under no illusions it’s going to be a really tough contest,” he said. 

“It’s great to welcome back some guys from injury as well as being able to call on some of our younger players who have been in superb form at the lower level.”

22-year-old Buckley was a Category B rookie who is in his third season at the club.

He began as a key forward but has developed into a versatile utility standing at 193cm and 87kg. 

Buckley is the son of North Melbourne Chairman Ben Buckley and grew up in Sydney.

He was a graduate of the Swans Academy and played for the UNSW-ES Bulldogs in the AFL Sydney competition. He filled in for the GIANTS’ NEAFL team in 2017 before being rookie-listed by the club.

Cameron said Buckley thoroughly deserved his opportunity.

“Jack Buckley comes in for his first game and he’s a great story,” Cameron said.

“He’s a local lad from Sydney who fell out of love with the game before returning to AFL Sydney when he was 18.

“He’s come along in leaps and bounds this season. He has a huge work-rate and great defensive pressure.

“We can’t wait to see him out there and take his opportunity on Saturday night.”

As announced earlier on Friday, captain Stephen Coniglio has been omitted for Saturday’s match. 

“Stephen is the first to admit that his form hasn’t been where he, and the club, want it to be,” Cameron said. 

“He’s an outstanding player and outstanding person and we absolutely back him in to get back to his best sooner rather than later.” 

Defender Aidan Corr is out with an ankle injury while Coniglio, Jackson Hately, Jye Caldwell, Sam Jacobs and Lachie Ash have been omitted and Bobby Hill and Jake Riccardi have been managed. 

Toby Greene will captain the side for the second time in Coniglio’s absence.

The GIANTS take on the Melbourne Demons on Saturday at 7:40pm at the Gabba.

Round 17

GIANTS v Melbourne Demons
Saturday, September 12 at 7:40pm
The Gabba 

FB: Sam Reid, Lachlan Keeffe, Heath Shaw
HB: Adam Kennedy, Nick Haynes, Zac Williams
C: Lachie Whitfield, Jacob Hopper, Harry Perryman
HF: Jeremy Cameron, Harry Himmelberg, Matt de Boer
FF: Toby Greene, Jeremy Finlayson, Brent Daniels
RR: Shane Mumford, Josh Kelly, Tim Taranto 

Interchange: Connor Idun, Daniel Lloyd, Jack Buckley, Tom Green 

In: Zac Williams, Josh Kelly, Brent Daniels, Shane Mumford, Harry Perryman, Jack Buckley, Tom Green, Connor Idun
Out: Sam Jacobs, Stephen Coniglio, Jye Caldwell, Jackson Hately, Lachie Ash (omitted), Bobby Hill, Jake Riccardi (managed), Aidan Corr (ankle)

Emergencies: Matt Buntine, Sam Jacobs, Bobby Hill, Isaac Cumming