Dodoro and 'Mat Suckling'

Pretty funny story really. Involving Dodoro, Michael Quinn and the 2 Mat/Mathew Sucklings…

How fate delivered agony and ecstasy to footy’s two Matthew Sucklings

This is football’s ultimate case of mistaken identity.

One Matthew Suckling is a dashing defender with a booming left boot from Wagga Wagga.

That Matthew Suckling has won two AFL flags for Hawthorn and will continue to break lines for Western Bulldogs this year.

The other Matthew Suckling is a hard-nosed midfielder currently honeymooning in Mexico. He will suit up for Caroline Springs this year, having won two SANFL flags for Norwood.

Rewind 12 years and a rookie draft bungle created temporary heartache for one Suckling and permanent heartache for the other.

Hawthorn intended to redraft the Suckling you all know.

Instead, the lesser-known Suckling – Sandringham Dragons captain at the time – had his name flash up at pick No.79.

“Straight away I’m like, ‘Nah, that’s a mistake’ and in the other room my mum (Jo-Anne) is screaming and all of a sudden my phone is going nuts,” Suckling the Dragon said.

“Everyone’s trying to call me and I’m like, ‘This is 100 per cent a mistake’.”

In a meeting room at Waverley Park, Hawks recruiter Gary Buckenara read out Suckling’s six-digit registration code, flanked by Chris Pelchen and Graham Wright.

They swear the mistake wasn’t theirs.

“The AFL would open the phone line to the club picking and put everyone else on mute, so you could hear but you couldn’t talk,” Pelchen said.

“We’ve called out the number and name, and it was certainly the right one, and it’s obviously been misheard by the AFL.

“Either they’ve provided us with the incorrect number or, at their end, they’ve put in the name rather than the number and it’s come up with a choice of two.

“We were as shocked as anyone when it came up with the Sandringham Dragons’ Mat Suckling.”

The Hawks took the conversation offline to rectify. But with the picks going public, the horse had bolted.

“I called my regional manager Wayne Oswald and Ossie was really emotional saying, ‘Mat, it’s you’,” Suckling said.

“I’m like, ‘Ossie, it’s not me. Can you please call Hawthorn and find out because I’ve got a million people calling me, my mum is going absolutely berserk and I’m trying to calm everyone down, because this is turning into an absolute disaster. The draft’s been and gone, I know I haven’t been drafted but everyone thinks I have been. Can you please call and find out’.”

Suckling was watching on computer with teammate Sam McGarry, who St Kilda picked at No.78.

“Sam’s manager called me up and was like, ‘You’ve been drafted’ and I’m like, ‘No, I haven’t. I need you to get off the phone so I can find out what the f— is going on’.

“My dad came home from work and I’m like, ‘Dad, it’s not me. I know it’s not me’.

“Ossie called me 10 minutes later, and he was crying. He was devastated. He said, ‘Mat, it’s not you’ and I’m like, ‘I know, mate’ but I needed that confirmation.

“It was a calamitous f— up. For the type of club they turned out to be, it was a pretty big disaster.”

Across town in Hawthorn, the other Matthew Suckling’s phone also lit up.

“I had a few mates text me, ‘Bad luck’,” that Suckling said.

“It definitely was a nerve-racking 30-45 minutes, where I was trying to chase it up and make sure that I could still get back on the list, even though they read out the wrong name.

“Within the hour it was all sorted – thank God.”

What sounded like a comical mishap turned into anything but for the man who missed out.

Wright promptly called to apologise and was genuinely contrite.

Next, the AFL’s Rod Austin was on the line.

“Austin was like, ‘I’m sorry, I know how you feel’,” Suckling said.

“I was like, ‘Well, you come over to my house now, you sit down with my mum and my dad and the 200 individual text messages I’ve got and I’m going to have to go through every single one of these and respond to each and every one of them saying no it’s not me, no it’s not me.

“I had my dream ripped away from me 12 months before that (he did his knee in 2007 and missed being drafted), and to have it happen again this way, knowing that it wasn’t me, but to have it happen in the worst way possible.

“Rod was like, ‘Oh, yeah. You’re right’ so I basically told him to just f— off’.”

The stuff-up was a perfect storm.

Suckling had been completing a pre-season at Richmond, was in talks with North Melbourne and the rumour mill suggested Essendon was keen.

As Pelchen said: “We’re not talking about a player at Tootgarook thirds that’s entered as a joke to his mates. He was certainly in discussion.

“That year at Sandringham we had four players taken in the top 15 (Jack Watts, Ty Vickery, Tom Lynch and Mitch Brown), we had another four drafted (Taylor Hunt, Luke Lowden, Taylor Gilchrist and McGarry) and I’d won the best-and-fairest by so far they didn’t have a count,” Suckling said.

“And I was the one that didn’t get drafted, and then having to deal with all that sh** as well it was tough. It was really tough.”

Suckling signed at Port Melbourne the following year and, in his first game, met the other Suckling … his opponent in a clash against the Box Hill Hawks.

“I kicked a goal on him,” Suckling said.

“It was quite funny because on the replay you see me lining back up on the wing and it was me and him next to each other.

“There was a bit of empathy from his part, it’s like we have this unwanted bond.”


An email Matthew Suckling sent to Essendon recruiter Adrian Dodoro in the aftermath of his 2008 draft heartbreak cost him a place at the Bombers six years later.

As Suckling’s fate sank in, he became angry that the Bombers used their final rookie pick on Irish teenager Michael Quinn.

“I fired off this angry email to Essendon,” Suckling said.
“I said you’re going to regret it, why would you pick an Irish kid when I’m here, I’m ready to go, I can play, you don’t need to teach me anything. And I’m going to prove you wrong.

“I’d totally forgotten about – an email from a 19-year-old kid, who gives a stuff.”

Quinn played nine games for the Bombers while Suckling joined SANFL club Norwood in 2011, winning two flags and finishing runner-up in the best-and-fairest twice.

Sucking returned to Victoria in 2014 and, as a lifelong Collingwood supporter, wanted to play VFL for the Magpies.

But with Redlegs coach Nathan Bassett off to the Dons as a senior assistant – and their new VFL club needing midfielders – a Tullamarine contract beckoned.

“I went down, had a meeting and toured the facility and they said they were pretty keen to sign me,” Suckling said.

“I said (to football manager Matthew Little), ‘That’d be great. I’m talking to Collingwood, but to be with Bass would be great’.

“Collingwood had put a contract to me and I was stalling them, because I was waiting on Essendon to get back to me.

“Matt Little said, ‘Give us another day, we’ll have a contract for you’. After four days I called him up and said, ‘What is going on?’

“He said there were some issues internally but we’re going to sort it out. I said, ‘Mate, I’m on my way to Collingwood to sign now. That’s it – I’m done’.

“I signed with Collingwood, Bass calls me and goes, ‘You know what the sh-t was about, don’t you?’

“’Apparently you sent an email to Adrian Dodoro and he printed that out at the list management meeting and he said I don’t want to sign him because he sent that email’.

“I was favourite for the Magarey Medal in 2013, I came second in the league coach’s award by a vote, I’d just won two flags at Norwood, they were desperate for a midfielder and (said no) over an email I’d sent six years earlier.”


Doesn’t surprise me.


Classic dodoro…

Too big an ego…can you imagine better players he didn’t want because of his petulance.

I’m surprised Essendon had email in 2008.


Yep, don’t we have egg on our face because Mat Suckling played his 300 AFL games for Collingwood.


No, we don’t.

I’ve said this numerous times, he’s been around 15 years, there’s enough real mistakes he’s made, without having to invent them.


That ■■■■■ me though that we didn’t back in Bassett over disco having the ■■■■■ about a year old email. It’s pretty pathetic.

Fair to say we didn’t get burnt by this one though. Who did we take instead?

You have to wonder what Dods saw in Carroll, German, Bock, Klemke and Quinn that he didn’t see in Suckling, down at pick 81 in the rookie list.


Leadership, good family, skinny back flank, so many options really

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Quinn was our best rookie pick that year!!

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Well we took Fraser Thurlow and Paddy Ambrose in that rookie draft. Even if you compare it to Thurlow we lost nothing anyway. This Mat Suckling never got on an AFL list anywhere else which he would have if he were any good.
Funny story though lol



Bassett was only at the club in 2014 and 2015.

Mattie Bate?

Would’ve been VFL, not AFL.

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Ah yeah, you’re right :+1:

I love sending emails.

I’ve heard him talk about that story before but thought he was just taking the ■■■■ as he is a bit of a joker

Ah yeah that’s right, you’re involved at Norwood aren’t you?

Pretty petty to not draft someone because of that. Put your ego aside and do what’s best for the club

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The fax machine was broken so they tried out this new tech. Took them 6 years to read the emails though.