Michael Tuck : biography
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.
Early career (1972 - 1973)
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,Lovett, Michael (editor); AFL Record: Guide to Season 2005; p. 571 ISBN 0-9580300-6-5 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 sided.
Rising career (1974 - 1985)
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)
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,Main, Jim and Holmesby, Russell; The Encyclopedia of League Footballers; (1st Edition); p. 442; ISBN 1-86337-085-4 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.See The Age; 26 September 1984.
Fittingly, his last game was in Hawthorn's premiership win in the Grand Final over West Coast.
During the post-match presentations following the 2005 NAB Cup Grand Final, Tuck accidentally announced the medal named in his honour as the "Norm Smith Medal".
He is the brother-in-law of Geelong great Gary Ablett, Sr., having married Fay Ablett.
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.Lovett; AFL Record; p. 518 Tuck did poll 120 Brownlow votes for his career, but never got anywhere near winning the award.
His son, Shane Tuck, plays in the AFL for Richmond. Another son, Travis Tuck, was drafted in 2005 under the father/son rule by Hawthorn, debuting in 2007. On Tuesday 31 August 2010 Travis was suspended for 12 weeks after becoming AFL's first player to record a 3rd strike under the controversial drug code.
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.
Michael Tuck holds a number of VFL/AFL games records. These are:
- Most senior games: 426 for Hawthorn
- Most finals games: 39
- Most grand finals played in: 11
- Most premiership wins: 7
He retired as the tenth oldest player ever; he was 38 years and 95 days old when he retired.
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