Michael Tuck

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Michael Tuck
Personal information
Full name Michael Tuck
Date of birth (1953-06-24) 24 June 1953 (age 61)
Place of birth Berwick, Victoria
Height/Weight 188 cm / 76 kg
Position(s) Ruck-rover
Half back/Full Forward(early)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1972 – 1991 Hawthorn 426 (320)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1991 season.
Career highlights

Michael Tuck (born 24 June 1953) is a seven-time premiership-winning player, Australian rules footballer with the Hawthorn Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL) / Australian Football League (AFL), where he is the games record holder.

AFL career[edit]

Early career (1972 - 1973)[edit]

Raised in Berwick, in Melbourne's outer south-eastern suburbs, Tuck joined Hawthorn in 1972 from the country zone club of the same name, and remained at the club for his entire career. Tuck initially played as a full forward and the understudy to the great Peter Hudson, kicking 63 goals in the reserves in 1971. He made his senior debut against Richmond in the eighth round the following year and kicked goals with his first three kicks in senior football,[1] but after that he failed completely and was very soon dropped from the senior side. Tuck would play in the winning 1972 reserve grade premiership side.

Rising career (1974 - 1985)[edit]

In the following years Tuck was tried as a winger and defender before in 1974 finding his true niche as a ruck-rover and firmly establishing himself in the Hawthorn senior side. With Don Scott and Leigh Matthews Tuck came to form a following combination feared by every other VFL club and a crucial role in Hawthorn's 1976 and 1978 premierships. After a lapse as Hawthorn mined its rich country zone for new talent, Tuck played a critical role in Hawthorn's seven successive grand finals between 1983 and 1989. In the last four years of his career Tuck was moved from the ball to the less demanding role of a running half-back flanker, but he still continued to gain huge numbers of possessions right up to the end of his career.

Captaincy (1986 - 1991)[edit]

Tuck was the natural successor to the Hawthorn captaincy in 1986 after Leigh Matthews' retirement. He captained them from that year until his retirement in 1991 at the age of 38. He won a total of seven VFL/AFL premierships with Hawthorn, captaining the club in four of them.

Tuck never won Hawthorn's best-and-fairest, but was runner-up on six occasions,[2] and there was a good deal of controversy in 1982 and 1983 when he failed to poll a single vote in the Brownlow Medal, which led to votes for each match being made publicly available for the first time ever in 1984.[3]

Fittingly, his last game was in Hawthorn's premiership win in the Grand Final over West Coast.

Records[edit]

Tuck holds a number of VFL/AFL games records. These are:

  • Most senior VFL/AFL games: 426
  • Most senior games for Hawthorn: 426
  • Most finals games: 39
  • Most grand finals: 11
  • Most premiership wins: 7

He retired as the tenth oldest player ever; he was 38 years and 95 days old when he retired.[4]

Legacy[edit]

Tuck was a skinny ruck-rover with great stamina as evidenced by the length of his career. To date, Tuck is the VFL/AFL games record holder, with 426 games, but his durability is not only reflected in the number of senior games he played, but in having played fifty games in the reserves before becoming a regular senior player.[5] Tuck did poll 120 Brownlow votes for his career, but never got anywhere near winning the award.

His son, Shane Tuck, played in the AFL for Richmond. Another son, Travis Tuck, was drafted in 2005 under the father/son rule by Hawthorn, debuting in 2007.

The medal presented to the best afield in the preseason cup final was named after the him in 1992, as was a grandstand at Glenferrie Oval. He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Coaching career[edit]

Tuck briefly served as an assistant coach at Geelong, under former Hawks team-mate Gary Ayres.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Tuck is the brother-in-law of former Geelong player Gary Ablett, Sr., having married Fay Ablett.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lovett, Michael (editor); AFL Record: Guide to Season 2005; p. 571 ISBN 0-9580300-6-5
  2. ^ Main, Jim and Holmesby, Russell; The Encyclopedia of League Footballers; (1st Edition); p. 442; ISBN 1-86337-085-4
  3. ^ See The Age; 26 September 1984.
  4. ^ Martin Windsor-Black: Pertinent Observations
  5. ^ Lovett; AFL Record; p. 518
  6. ^ McFarlane, Glenn (May 2012). "Abletts reach ‘amazing' 900 league games". Sunday Herald Sun.