Shane Tuck: The Most Underrated Player in the AFL?

 The name “Tuck” has been a house hold name in the AFL and for Hawthorn fans specifically since Michael made his debut in 1972 although it isn’t Michael who tiger fans are cheering week in week out. It’s his son Shane who has placed himself in the hearts of the Tiger faithful.  Although majority of people outside Richmond would have barely heard the name Shane Tuck.
Shane, who has been privileged with one of the greatest football families consisting of father Michael who played for Hawthorn from 1972-1991 and was a member of seven premierships along with a number of personal awards. But the legendary bloodline continues with his uncles Garry 248 games 1030 goals from 1982-1996 for Hawthorn and Geelong, Geoff 229 games, 153 goals and 2 premierships for Hawthorn, Richmond & St Kilda and Kevin Ablett 38 games and 22 goals for Hawthorn, Richmond and Geelong form 1977-85. And the Champions don’t stop there with Brother Travis playing for Hawthorn between 2006-2010 and cousins Luke who was a member of the 2005 premiership as well as playing 133 games and kicking 39 goals  for Sydney from 2002-2009, Nathan who was a member of the 2007 premiership and 34 games as well as 47 goals for Geelong and Gold Coast from 2005-11 and Garry JR who along with a Brownlow and multiple personal awards he has also been a member of two flags.  
Ironically Shane who has family ties with 13 premierships and 6 grand final losses is not only yet to play in a grand final but also a final series in general. The Tigers who are hopeful of a finals birth in 2013 and are looking like true contenders for the top 8 for the first time since 2001 have struggled in his time at the club. Although after un unsuccessful three years at Hawthorn 2000-2002 he has  managed 162 games and 69 goals for Richmond since 2004 and has polled solidly in the Best & Fairest almost every year at the club. But even still with his great family name and his great football ability which has landed him third once and second twice in Richmond’s B&F he is constantly over shadowed by his teammate midfielders. 
At Hawthorn he had to fight against players such as Richie Vandenburg, Shane Crawford, Sam Mitchell, Luke Hodge and Chance Bateman. While at Richmond Kane Johnson, Nathen Foley, Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Daniel Jackson, Mark Coughlan Dustin Martin  and Ben Cousins has stolen all the limelight from him.  
Shane has a carrier average of 23.8 disposals a game and is always a regular member of the Tigers best and should be recognised for it. Alas he is not the only player in the AFL who is sometimes forgotten by the supporters who follow our great game and he won’t be the last. All we can say is that Shane seems to get better with age after he had unluckily enough missed out on All Australian honours on 2012 after his first nomination at age 31. Therefore its fair enough to say we can only expect to see a better player in 2013. 
Peter Tseros


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