But his rise to the highest level has been beset by setbacks in his development. As an identical twin to footballer Mark Noble, he had to take medication as a child that delayed his growth.
“I always knew I had the ability, it was just going to take a bit longer then somebody else,” John Noble said.
But coach Buckley had nothing but praise for the “mature” young footballer, rattling off a long list of compliments when describing his play, adding it was exactly what the Pies needed at this stage in the season.
“He’s played off half back, off the wing. He’s got a lot of dash, he takes the game on, uses the ball really well. He’s courageous with his decisions, he’s very forthright in the way he goes about the game. He’s actually been defending really well, he’s always in the right spot, competing and contesting really well.”
Buckley acknowleged the Pies aren’t playing their best football, having lost consecutive matches – against Hawthorn and the shock 44-point defeat to North Melbourne. The loss to the Kangaroos Buckley had described as “embarrassing”.
“I think I’m generally quite honest, for good or for bad … Our form hasn’t been great and we need to turn it around.”
The coach said the team’s performance had “ebbed and flowed” but insisted they had to remain positive.
“We’re not catastrophising at all about where we’re at,” Buckley said.
“We’ve lost five games of footy this year, we’ve won 10. We’ve got games coming back in the stretch starting this week that we want to win so we can put ourselves in a good position to attack September if we earn that.”
Buckley said confidence was not something “you can go down to the shop and buy” and had to be built on a week-to-week basis.
“One of the great challenges at this level is everyone’s going to have a bad contest, you’re not going to play a perfect game [every week]. You’ve got to be able to leave that behind and bring your strengths and all of your focus to the next contest, whenever that is.
“Being able to move on is part of that.”
He said there would be a focus on improving the midfield and maybe some shifts to roles but also fresh faces were an integral part of upping the game.
“We haven’t been playing our best football in the last couple of weeks … we want to aim a little higher and improve our football.
“New blood, new talent is part of that. We saw Isaac (Quaynor) last week, and now John.”
With Collingwood and West Coast both harbouring top two ambitions, Friday’s showdown will be a decisive battle to secure a position in the upper reaches of the ladder.
Collingwood could drop to fifth if they lose to the Eagles. The pressure is on but Buckley remains positive Noble, who last travelled to Perth in May for the SANFL in a state game, is up to the challenge.
“The occasion itself is big for us all, big for the Eagles as well. But it’s a stage that I have no doubt he’s ready for.”
Charlotte is a reporter for The Age.