It’s no wonder why Jack Buchanan has made 34 first grade appearances for the Wests Tigers since his debut in 2013.
However, as luck would have it, it’s been an ongoing challenge for Buchanan to add further NRL appearances due to the likes of Aaron Woods, Keith Galloway, Martin Taupau and Sauaso Sau in a stellar Wests Tigers forward pack in the top grade.
“In the future, I want to be a regular first grader week in week out,” said Buchanan. “All the starting spots are locked up with Woods, Taupau and [Sauaso] Sue. The three spots left are all pretty tight between [the remaining forwards].
“Short term [goals are] to keep my football consistent, keep playing well, keep working on my game and make my way into that top-grade squad. Once I get there, try and get a few games under my belt and build a consistent game.”
Buchanan views himself as a leader of his VB NSW Cup forward pack, and his recent form reflect his goals of becoming a full-time first grader for the Wests Tigers.
The 23-year-old is an imposing figure at 193 centimetres and 103 kilograms, providing powerful performances for his side each week.
Buchanan has earned a reputation in the VB NSW Cup for his consistent efforts as a tireless workhorse in defence while bulldozing through opponents in attack.
In round 12 of the VB NSW Cup against the North Sydney Bears, he carried the ball for a remarkable 248-metre effort, indicating his potential to play NRL footy.
Buchanan credits a full pre-season with a new coaching staff, for his new-found strength and fitness this season.
“This year I had a full pre season with no injuries, so I think that helped massively.
“I’ve put on a bit of extra weight this year. I’ve also done extra fitness as well. It’s good to be able to get a bit of consistency in my game and just work hard”
Buchanan has played seven first grade games for the Wests Tigers in 2015, and is always ready for the next one if ever he is called upon.
“Yeah 100 percent [I’m always ready for a call up]. You train with first grade all week, you know the boys there and you hang out with them every day.
“Once you get up [to first grade] you don’t see yourself as a VB NSW Cup player; straight away it’s first grade and you’re in the mindset that you’re a first grade player.”
Training with experienced forwards such as Galloway and Woods has greatly benefited Buchanan’s progression as a player, sharing his experience to the younger players in the VB NSW Cup side.
“Yeah I do [see myself as a leader of the forwards in VB NSW Cup]. The experience I had in 2013 and 2014 in the top grade; I try to bring that back and lead the way with my footy doing the talking.
“We’ve got a very young team, we’ve got a lot of the boys from under 20s last year, so I like to try and help them out and obviously they help me out as well because nobody’s perfect.”
Buchanan’s support of his team-mates, demonstrates his own willingness to learn and grow into an NRL first-grader for a long time to come.