State Game Player Focus: Jack Buller (Western Australia)

WITH the AFL Mid-Season Draft fast approaching, few names have received more coverage than Claremont key forward Jack Buller. The 22-year-old’s strong start to the season saw him rewarded with a Western Australian jumper, and has put him firmly on the radar of clubs looking to bolster their key position stocks. We put his performance for the Sandgropers under the Player Focus microscope.

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Jack Buller

Height: 199cm

Weight: 99kg

DOB: 16-05-2001


Despite going undrafted in his teenage years, Buller has long been recognised as a talented prospect. He featured at both Under 16 and Under 18 level for Western Australia as a versatile key position player, waxing with some of the state’s best current AFL stars.

After going unselected in the 2019 draft, Buller entered the Claremont senior program, playing a year of Reserves football before making his League debut in 2021.

From there, he has developed nicely as the Tiger’s prime target in the front half, culminating in a sensational performance in a losing grand final last year.

He has begun the 2023 campaign in terrific form, averaging 16 disposals, nine marks and two goals a game to earn his first senior state call-up and put him in a strong position to be picked up mid-season.


Player Focus: #16 Jack Buller (Western Australia)
Stats: 8 disposals (6 kicks, 2 handballs), 2 marks, 2 tackles, 11 hitouts, 1 goal


Stationed at centre half-forward to begin the game, some early WA midfield ascendency saw plenty of ball in Buller’s vicinity. He made a strong contest in his first involvement, bustling to front position to bring a ball to ground. He continued to throw his weight around, making his presence felt at forward stoppages with some good follow-up work at ground level.

After a quick spell, Buller was injected into the ruck and competed well, winning a couple of hitouts through his strong vertical leap at the centre bounce. He had his first clean disposal when back in the forward line, missing a guilt-edged chance to kick truly after rushing a snap on goal to score a behind.


The second quarter was a similar story for Buller, as he started forward and struggled to find much of the ball as the Croweater onballers began to edge on top. He continued to offer his side a good option in the ruck, battling well at the centre bounce to get first hands on the ball.

While playing on-ball, he drifted back into defence to take a nice intercept mark as his major highlight of the first half. He almost clunked another grab up forward, but failed to hold on after a couple of fumbles in an effort that characterised what was a frustrating start to the game for him.


Having struggled to find space in the first half, Buller found himself in a few more isolated one on one contests in the third stanza, although he was outpointed in a few battles early in the quarter.

After his stint in the ruck, in which he won his first clearance, Buller left his first true mark on the game. He used good body work to protect the drop zone of the incoming ball and take a strong contested mark before converting from 50 to kick a crucial goal for the Black Ducks.

That major seemed to spark Buller into life, as he came led out from the next centre bounce and got involved again, winning a free kick, and sending the ball inside 50. 


Buller was involved in a crucial moment early in the term, winning a free kick in a marking contest 15m out from goal before a teammate took advantage and kicked a goal to put WA back in front.

After that major, South Australia applied an extended period of pressure, forcing Buller to work higher up the ground and provide a target down the line. He managed to get to several contests but couldn’t bring down any more grabs as the Croweaters eked ahead and secured the victory.


While it wasn’t the complete performance Buller would have loved to have produce, it was still a workmanlike display that illustrated glimpses of his versatility and physicality that sees him shape as a draftable player.

Although he struggled to find the football and was at times beaten by his direct opponent, the 22-year-old managed to have an impact in different ways, showing his wares as a ruck option and applying good pressure for a big man throughout the game.

He also managed to shake off a quiet start to have a more influential second half, highlighted by his contested mark and goal in the third term that showcased his trademark contested marking prowess.

Being opposed to a couple of seasoned state-league defenders, the experience of state football should hold Buller in good stead for the type of challenges he may face at the next level should he be selected in the mid-season draft.

So, while his state debut had room for improvement, he showed flashes of his strong WAFL form, which should give him enough credits in the bank to land at a club on draft night.

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