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Our Mate Tucky

Former Richmond players Nathan Foley, Dan Jackson, Brett Deledio, Ty Vickery, Jake King and Andrew Collins have put together a series of short stories as they remember their teammate, Shane Tuck, following his tragic passing this week.

Introduction written by Dan Jackson

Everyone grieves in their own way.

For many guys, it involves sitting around, sharing stories, and having a laugh over a few beers.

Unfortunately, with where the world is currently at, we aren’t able to get together to celebrate the life of our mate, Tucky.

So instead, in a small way to honour a great man, we’d like to share some personal stories about what Tucky meant to each of us.

Hopefully by reading these you’ll get some insight into one of the most unique humans you’ll likely ever come across.

Tucky was tough – he was a warrior – but he was also loyal, caring, and genuine. Tucky was our brother – he always had our backs, no matter what…

Before you read our stories, if we could ask you to do one thing to help us remember and honour our mate Tucky.

If you can think of someone in your life who may be doing it tough at the moment, please check in with them to see how they’re going. You don’t have to solve their problems – just do what Tucky did for each of us – just show them you’re there for them, because everyone needs a mate like Tucky.

TUCKY – By Nathan Foley 

In round seven, 2013, in the game against Port Adelaide, Tucky fractured his scapula in the third quarter.

He bravely played out that game.

Tucky was grimacing as he ran around with his elbow tucked into his stomach to provide some stability to shield him from the pain he was feeling. We ended up winning that game.

Tucky required surgery for his fractured scapula.

Less than a week after his surgery, I was moving into a new house and had organised Tucky’s removalist business to help out.

Tucky had started this business with an old mate, who was very much in a similar mould to himself.

Much to my surprise, Tucky turned up that day to help unpack the truck.

With his arm in a sling he started picking things up one handed and taking them into the house. I suggested he probably shouldn’t be doing that -he just said, ‘It’ll be right’ and continued on helping.

Tucky was tough on and off the field.

He didn’t try to be tough; he didn’t seek praise for being tough. Tucky was just tough and he knew no different.

We will never forget you Tucky and when we all catch up for a beer, we will always have plenty of great Tucky stories.

Rest in peace mate.

TUCKY – By Dan Jackson

Tucky was a unique human.

On one side he was the toughest guy I ever met – I played on some big-bodied midfielders throughout my career, but the only person I ever feared lining up against was Shane Tuck.

Tucky was fearless and uncompromising when it came to winning the footy and if you found yourself in his way, you’d feel it – the man was made of iron.

But Tucky also had a softer side.

He was hugely empathetic to his mates, especially when he thought they may be doing it tough – perhaps because he’d had his own battles to fight throughout his journey.

One day, in 2012, when I was having a bad run of form and copping it from some of the media, on a recovery walk around the MCG parklands, Tucky, mid-conversation (about who knows what!) suddenly put his arm on my shoulder, lowered his eyes and said, “Hey mate, don’t listen to those idiots, you’re a great player, you’ll prove them wrong.” End of convo – no more said.

Until 12 months later, when one morning I opened my locker to find an article about my career turnround stuck to the inside of the door.

Having no idea where it came from, Tucky, who I’d shared the locker next to for 10 years appeared, once again put his hand on my shoulder, lowered his eyes (the way he did when you knew he was going to say something meaningful) and said,

“I knew you’d prove them wrong Jacko; I thought you should leave that there as a reminder.” And off he strolled…

Whilst I’d prefer not to have to ever face you in another one-to-one contest at training Tucky, I’d give anything to sit next to you at our lockers again. This time I’d put my arm on your shoulder to tell you that I love ya… Rest in peace Great Man – we’ll miss you.

TUCKY – By Brett Deledio

A great memory I have of Tucky was at my Bucks party up in Echuca.

We were at the Shamrock Hotel for the night and I was standing there with my Dad, Uncle Ron and Dad’s best mate and, close family friend, Shane Vick.

Talking absolute rubbish no doubt, this bloke kept elbowing me in the back, he was a Buck as well it turned out and had tipped a few too many in.

I let him know I wasn’t rapt with the treatment, but he continued on his elbowing ways when Dad stepped in and warned him that he needed to cut it out.

Now I don’t know if Tucky was watching or not, but personally I think he smelt something brewing and before I knew it he was standing right beside Dad, as he was lecturing this other Buck, saying “Right we going Block (Dad’s Nickname) or what?”

Tucky was ready to take on the whole pub if one of his mates needed him to.

He was as loyal as they come, ran straight, shot straight and was a downright funny bugger, even though he didn’t always know he was. I’ll miss the honesty, the quirkiness, but most of all I’ll just miss the bloody top bloke you were.

Rest Easy, Tucky.

TUCKY – By Tyrone Vickery

What I remember most about Tucky was just how genuine he was.

I remember at a point I was not playing well and Tucky pulled me aside and told me, ‘Mate I was labelled a “list clogger”, “not good enough” and a “waste of a spot”. Believe in yourself and don’t listen to the outside world.’

It stuck with me because he wasn’t naturally a super vocal leader, but he was naturally a really genuine caring person.

He wasn’t naturally someone to speak up, but he took the time for the conversation. He did this not for other people to see, but purely because he cared about how I was going and wanted to help.

RIP to a great man.

TUCKY – By Jake King

A story to sum up ‘Tucky’ happened around my first interstate game and my first real introduction into the world of Shane Tuck.

I remember when being told I’d be rooming with him, all the boys’ were looking at me with a strange look that said, ‘Thank God it’s not me!’

The night before the game everything seemed all normal and was running smoothly until ‘Tucky mode’ kicked in.

We were watching TV when Tucky decided it was late and that it was time for bed.

It wasn’t even 9.30pm.

So I said good night as did he, but what I didn’t realise was that meant ‘lights out’ – so he turned the TV off and that was it.

I’m not a good sleeper and it was about three hours earlier than when I would normally go to sleep, but respecting the older guy and being a rookie I did my best.

I ended up watching a movie in the hallway of the hotel, on my computer until 1am.

Eventually I went to sleep only to wake up at 3.00am to the sound of Tucky eating an apple – apparently a regular Tucky past time!

Thinking that’d be it, and that I’d be finally able to get some sleep, I was unpleasantly woken again at 6am to the sound of someone running and breathing heavily. I looked over half-asleep to see Tucky running on the spot.

Tucky, noticing I’d stirred, went over, turned the light on and asked, “Are you awake?”

“What do you reckon mate,” I said sarcastically.

He replied, “Yeah, grouse, me too brother, would you mind holding the (boxing) pads for me?”

I was so confused.

Once Tucky finished hitting the pads he put on his shoes, and just like Tucky did throughout his career, he left the room and when I looked out the window he was doing strides on the grass area in front of our hotel room.

I remember going to breakfast, after no sleep and with blood shot eyes, and as I walked in I remember the boys looking at me.

First it was silent, then they looked at each other and then they pissed themselves laughing and all together said, “Tucky!”

I was the last player to room with Tucky before he got his own room and thank God for that!

I love ya brother, you are and always will be a warrior and a brother to me.

Till we meet again, rest in peace.

TUCKY – By Andrew Collins

At the end of 2006, Jack Riewoldt, Shane Edwards, Daniel Connors, Carl Peterson and myself were all drafted to the Richmond Football Club in the National Draft.

Daniel and I were lucky enough to be billeted with Shane and Katherine Tuck as part of our settling in process.

From the moment we lobbed at Tucky’s place, we felt as though we were part of the family.

We met Fay (Shane’s Mum) and (Shane’s Dad) Michael (Tuck) along with sister Renee at a family dinner at a pub in Abbottsford.

It was obvious from the start that the Tucks were warm, down to earth people.

When you look back on your sporting career you never forget the people that truly try to help you succeed, especially when you’re at your most vulnerable at the start of your career.

In the heat of battle, in the middle of the MCG, it’s easy enough and not uncommon to just think of yourself, but that wasn’t Tucky.

I can vividly remember Tucky saying to ‘get past him’ in games in an attempt to get me an early touch and get my confidence up. Tucky wouldn’t just say it, he’d be looking for you.

Tucky was a big brother for so many young Tigers.

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