Friends knew of Shane Tuck’s struggles

 

 

Friends were aware of Shane Tuck's battle to fill the void after his AFL and boxing careers ended midway through 2017.

Tributes continued to flood in from the AFL and amateur football world in Adelaide on Tuesday for a shy but loved teammate who had struggled away from sport for several years.

His father, Hawthorn great Michael Tuck, revealed his anguish and urged anyone battling mental health issues to talk to somebody.

The AFL legend has spoken for the first time, saying his family is in deep shock and pain.

Former teammates from Goodwood Saints Football Club had been working to help Tuck, a father of two, who had been estranged from his wife.

He lost his life at age of 38 on Monday in Melbourne, mourned by the Hawthorn and Richmond football clubs.

"A couple of people within the club were aware (of his battles) and were supporting him," Goodwood president Craig Scott said.

"Covid was terrible because it just isolates people so much."

Shane Tuck Tuck played 173 games for Richmond between 2004-13.
Shane Tuck Tuck played 173 games for Richmond between 2004-13.

Boxing promoter Jake Ellis told the Herald Sun on Tuesday of Tuck's bravery to muster the courage to get back into the ring a year after being carried out on a stretcher in his first fight.

He said Tuck had been keen to find a passion that gave him a distraction from life's struggles in a career that included three wins, a draw and a loss.

Tuck fought on the Danny Green-Anthony Mundine undercard in a career that lasted until August 2017 when he walked away content.

"He would relate back to the fact that this was the way to keep his life ticking along, not give himself too much time to think, he wasn't playing footy at that point so he didn't have a lot of structure in his life, so the whole point was to try to get him back some structure," Ellis said.

"With training every day it was more about that, the boxing was there to aid his life, he wasn't giving his life to the sport.

"For the better part of 12 months he was mentally tormented from that experience of his first fight.

Tuck stepped into the boxing ring at end of his football career.
Tuck stepped into the boxing ring at end of his football career.

"But he mustered up the courage to have another crack and it was very important to him because the first time was such a negative experience."

Tuck maintained close contact with the Goodwood Saints after he retired and would often help the club's inclusive side (for players with disabilities) at training.

"He was outstanding, even last year from Victoria he sponsored the club through Aussie Homes Loans," Scott said.

"He was really professional, straight from the AFL and his work ethic at training and in a match he had a huge engine and really got around the young lads.

"He wanted to play a game with Travis (brother) and they did that (in 2017), we were hoping Shane would play more but he was into boxing by that stage.

"We have a photo of them in the changerooms together and you think, 'What if he had stayed here in Adelaide and kept going with the inclusive side', but sadly not to be."

 

Brothers Travis and Shane Tuck after they played a game together for Goodwood Saints in 2017. Picture: Supplied
Brothers Travis and Shane Tuck after they played a game together for Goodwood Saints in 2017. Picture: Supplied

Richmond has urged its staff not to suffer in silence with their own issues or Tuck's passing, telling them help was available if they were battling through a challenging period.

Former Carlton player Jake Edwards, now a mental health advocate after an attempt on his own life, said the COVID period was increasingly concerning for people lacking connection.

"Once again we have another example of the impact mental health can have on the impact in the community," Edwards said.

"Shane was an AFL player but it shows no one is immune.

Shane Tuck with his dad, Hawthorn legend Michael Tuck.
Shane Tuck with his dad, Hawthorn legend Michael Tuck.

"It shows that people are battling to reach out and talk, and it is even more pressing in the community we find ourselves in.

"There has been a huge void with no football for a lot of men, not able to hang around the boys or get a release from work or home life.

"Even with my programs we have had a spike in clubs in Victoria wanting direction and support.

"We have had four clubs contact us in the last 6-8 weeks off the back of a suicide at their club wanting us to come in for support and postvention. It's the hidden epidemic no one wants to talk about."

TRIBUTES POUR IN FOR HUMBLE MAN

Tributes from Shane Tuck's former teammates and the wider world of footy have flooded in with the former Tiger remembered as a "popular, humble and fun-loving person".

The football community was rocked on Monday with news the son of former AFL record holder Michael Tuck had died.

Tuck played 173 games for Richmond between 2004-2013 before moving on to a short career in boxing.

He passed away at the age of 38 in a shock development of the tight-knit Tuck family.

Ex-Tigers star Brett Deledio paid tribute to his former teammate.

"Rest in peace great man! One of the hardest at it I've played with," he said.

Richmond premiership star Jack Riewoldt said the playing group had been shaken by his death and would wear black armbands to honour him this weekend.

"He was one of those players who you loved to spend time with. He became a cult figure, people loved him," Riewoldt said.

"You always walked taller when you had Shane Tuck playing next to you. There was plenty to love about him. He was a footballer's footballer.

"He became a cult figure. People loved him. He was obviously the son of a very famous footballer, but you could see he was brought up to be respectful. He would always have the time to talk to people. He was a people's person."

Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale said of his death: "We're incredibly saddened by the news of Shane's passing, he will be missed enormously by everyone.

"You think of the Tuck family and the contribution they have made to the game over many years and Shane forged his own career and was a wonderful servant for the club.

Shane Tuck has passed away at age 38.
Shane Tuck has passed away at age 38.

"To get the news is really confronting. We are quite numb and you think about how you share it and see the impact on players and many of them were very close on field and think about his wife and children and it's incredibly sad.

"Shane was a warrior on the field, giving everything to the team each week, and a humble, fun-loving person off the field."

Hawthorn confirmed his passing in a statement that read: "On behalf of the Tuck family, the Hawthorn Football Club is deeply saddened to inform the football community of the passing of Shane Tuck.

"Shane passed away this morning at the age of 38. Hawthorn Football Club and the entire football community extend their deepest condolences to the Tuck family and ask that their privacy is respected during this time."

Richmond legend Kevin Bartlett also posted a devastated message on Twitter. "So saddened by the passing of Shane Tuck," Bartlett wrote.

"We had some lovely conversations in the past as I was an admirer of the way he played with such commitment. When my daughter worked at Richmond she would always say he was the nicest person. Thinking of the Tuck family. RIP Shane."

GONE TOO SOON

Tuck is survived by his wife, Kat, and two children Will and Ava.

Father Michael was one of footy's most resilient and courageous players, winning seven premierships in his 426 games with Hawthorn, including four of them as premiership captain.

The Tucks played 599 games between them and sit third on the list of most AFL/VFL games played by a father-and-son combination.

Shane's brother Travis also played at Hawthorn but was the first AFL player banned under the AFL's three-strike illicit drugs code in 2010.

Travis had been found unconscious by police in his car, along with drug paraphernalia, and taken to hospital and it later emerged he was suffering from depression.

Shane's mother, Fay, is a member of the famed Ablett clan - a sister to Geoff, Kevin and Gary Sr - which has seen its own tragedy in recent times.

Shane Tuck has been remembered as an on-field warrior by Richmond.
Shane Tuck has been remembered as an on-field warrior by Richmond.

Natasha Ablett, daughter of Gary Sr and sister of Gary Jr, was 35 when she died of a drug overdose in October 2017.

Gary Jr left his Geelong teammates at the weekend to be home with his wife, Jordan, and 17-month-old son Levi, who is suffering from a rare degenerative disease.

Fay Tuck spoke in 2008 of how her sons Shane and Travis had achieved success despite the expectations of being Michael Tuck's sons.

Shane Tuck celebrates one of his 74 goals for the Tigers.
Shane Tuck celebrates one of his 74 goals for the Tigers.

"I'm just proud of our two boys because they've done it the hard way. They didn't get the silver spoon in their hand," she said.

"People think, 'Oh because they're Michael Tuck's sons they get an easy ride', but it's been the opposite, actually."

Shane Tuck was on Hawthorn's list for three years before walking away from top-flight football and joining West Adelaide in the SANFL.

At the time he said he was sick of footy.

Richmond drafted him as pick No. 73 at the end of 2003.

And while there were more talented players in the AFL he won universal respect for his attitude and versatility.

Tuck fought Lucas Miller at The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on November 11, 2015. Picture: Getty
Tuck fought Lucas Miller at The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on November 11, 2015. Picture: Getty

 

If you or someone you know is in need help, call Lifeline on 131 114, visit lifeline.org.au, or call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Originally published as Friends knew of Shane Tuck's struggles

Michael Tuck and Allan Jeans after Hawthorn’s 1989 premiership win.
Michael Tuck and Allan Jeans after Hawthorn’s 1989 premiership win.
Shane Tuck could run all day.
Shane Tuck could run all day.
Tuck and his wife, Katherine, at the 2012 Brownlow. Picture: Getty
Tuck and his wife, Katherine, at the 2012 Brownlow. Picture: Getty
Tuck is clapped off by Tigers teammates in 2013. Picture: Getty
Tuck is clapped off by Tigers teammates in 2013. Picture: Getty