Almanac Obituaries: What we loved about Shane Tuck – a tribute from two cousins.


My cousin Jordan and I decided to write a two-hander about one of our favourite Tigers, Shane Tuck, to honour his passing.


What I loved about Shane Tuck: Jordan O’Neill


In the gym at Punt Road, there is this tiny room off to the side, where, as an Exercise Science student, I assisted with and ran some base measures for concussion testing on the players. I would timidly ask players as they prepared for field training, or went about their gym work, to come into what was essentially a cupboard with me, for a cognitive test via laptop. These could then be used post a suspected concussion incident in a game, to gauge any change to their cognitive function.


It was in this cupboard that I confessed to Tucky that I loved that he taped his ears… I did the same thing in football games. I’d like to think it was because both of our heads spent so much time over the top of the footy, hunting it at a stoppage. I’d put a little bit of cotton wool in the canal, then some standard ankle tape across the ear to hold it in place, preventing a knock’s ability to push air into the ear and damage the drum (which it had done to me on a number of times). Telling Tucky about this, he had a laugh and after a bit of chat about it, this became the most I connected with a player in my 6-month stint while at the club as a uni student.


Leading up to this moment, every game we watched Tucky go about it, my cousin Jill would promote this feeling of admiration for Tucky, she would exclaim “TUCCKKY!” at each hard-fought clearance he won for us. Whether a hacked ball quickly forward, or actually hitting a target, this built a respect in me for the blue-collar honest work he performed for the Richmond midfield. Jill would say it with relief, as so often he would shift the tide of a quarter, and be the first disposal of a chain leading us forward.


These small moments when you cross paths with someone take on greater meaning when there is no longer a chance for them to occur again. Reflecting on the time Tucky gave me, it speaks to why he’s so loved. Humble, accessible and hard at it. You can’t ask for much more in a Tiger. Vale Tucky. Thanks, mate for your time, Jordan O’Neill.



What I loved about Shane Tuck: Jill Fitzsimons


“And if there were questions about why


The end was so sad…”


(Tenterfield Saddler, Peter Allen)



My cousin Jordan texted me while I was walking in the door from work yesterday: ‘One of our faves Shane Tuck…sad to see him pass.’ I hadn’t heard but I’m glad it was Jordo who told me; it gave a dignity to the news. I felt completely still. We didn’t know what had happened but guessed from the reports what might have led to his death. Lifeline and Beyond Blue’s details capture the unsaid so completely. The beautiful line from Peter Allen’s. ‘Tenterfield Saddler’, ‘And if there were questions about why The end was so sad…’ came to mind.


The last time I’d seen and thought about Tucky was when he was the 2017 Homecoming Hero. I love this ritual. It’s a great way of honouring former Tigers who’ve left their stamp on the Club. I always wish I could do more than just clap and cheer the heroes as they go past because it’s always a reasonably quiet and gently elegant affair. People are still making their way into the ground or are still at the bar and everyone is yet to move out of first gear into the completely primal state that inevitably kicks in when we’re deep into the game and I’m too shy to go down to the boundary line (and probably too old). If Tucky could only have heard Jordo, dad and I celebrating one of his many real-time inspirational moments with, “Tuckyyyyyyyyyy!!!” that would have been fitting and conveyed to him how we felt about him.


He deserved that. Not dying like this, in such a shitty time, in the middle of winter.


Tucky was magnificent in our wilderness years – so tough, such a ranging kick and yet visibly vulnerable despite his super fit physique. Like Jordan, I also have a vivid memory of Tucky with tape protecting his ear drum. In the years when we tried so hard, but couldn’t catch a break, he was there, trying his guts out and telling everyone with his story that persistence and hard work is everything.


It must have been heartbreaking retiring after the 2013 Elimination Final, a crushing loss, then watching the Tigers rise again in 2014 and 2015 (but definitely not 2016) and then everything finally, at long last, bursting free from their chrysalis.


But he gave us hope in tough times and made the game exciting. Fans don’t get pumped up about just anything, just ask the Tiger fans who were asked to try and break the Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd noise before the Grand Final had started. We tried hard, but it wasn’t real; it wasn’t deeply felt.


Tucky, I am terribly upset by your loss and for your family who are left behind and deeply saddened that you struggled so much. You mattered to me, Jordo and my dad and to all of the beautiful people we sit with at the footy – the O’Haras and the Hastas family. So many memories of everyone standing up at once in M52 with triumphant clenched fists saying – ‘Tucky”.


There’s an important ritual in a Catholic funeral that I love – ‘The Song of Farewell’, sung by the priest or cantor and responded to by the mourners. We can’t be with you, but this is what I wish for you and would like to say to you…


Priest/Cantor: Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.


All: Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.



Read more stories at the Almanac site HERE



Lifeline  is a free and confidential support service which can be reached on 13 11 14.

Beyond Blue  can be reached on 1300 22 46 36.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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  1. Chris Rees says

    Thank you Jill and Jordan for sharing your memories, it will help a lot of people to read this.

    The words of the Catholic service at the end of your piece are so reminiscent of the end of Dugald Jellie’s farewell piece at the close of Shane’s career.
    “…he deserves a better farewell than this. He needs to be carried forth. He needs us crowd to hoist him in the air; to lift him into the sky, high among the stars.”

  2. Incredibly sad. Fine tribute.

    Nobody does a funeral like the Catholics.

  3. Michael Nichols says

    It’s so nice to hear this, thank you for your reflections on Tucky.
    As a 50-year-old I’ve had so many Richmond favourites, though I have no personal encounters I can share. Everything that’s been said about Shane affirms my view of him as a player and I’m proud to call him a favourite too. I would just like to register that here. He was fantastic, I cherish his bravery and uncomplicated play in the Wallace years, was willing him to 200 games under Dimma. I still had a childish sense he could give his dad’s record a shake. I feel very sad that he was obviously more complicated privately. I hope he knew how much we loved him and I hope his family knows that.

  4. YeahTigers2020 says

    Hi Michael, Chris and Dips.
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Much appreciated. Jordan and I felt like we needed to say something. All those Saturdays sitting at the G in the cold cheering on the Tigers in a pretty tough era for the Club.
    Tucky’s loss bring homes the terrible reality of depression as well as how much these beautiful Tigers mean to us. We love them as people and their loss really hurts.
    I really love Dugald’s writing and love Brendan’s reflections on Dugald’s ‘Tyger Tyger Burning Bright’ page. I will read his tribute to Tucky. Thank you for the reference.
    Totally agree about the power of ritual in a Catholic funeral. I love the call and response at the end. It’s such an important ritual for the mourners. Love the incense too.
    Take care everyone. Moments like this highlight how precious and loved everyone is and the Tiger ties that bind.

  5. Joan McDonald says

    Tucky was a standout player in the years during Richmond’s tough years. He was a favourite player – because of the attributes he brought to the Club.
    He always gave 120% – tough, determined and a work horse in the side. He displayed a sense of selflessness and gave loyalty to the Club at all times.
    We missed him when he retired – his contribution to the Club was immeasurable. He was a humble and professional player throughout his career.
    May he Rest In Peace, in God’s loving care . Our sincere condolences to his family and parents.
    We will remember you always! ??????

  6. Nathan Dupla says

    Like father like son he was a one club person and a heart for the game of AFL. He was a tiger through and through, stripes on the outside and tiger blood in his veins.

  7. Very sad but profound energising words

    about a true tough simple “dog at a bone” Tiger, a humble understated legend at Tigerland

    This sad event, (like the tragedy of Spud last year) is Just a reminder for us as a wider community to be aware of those around us doing it tough
    Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with people who need your encouragement and love
    In spite of how hard it is for us to reach out from our own shadow just stop and take the time to embrace the journey of another with at times ….not even words but just your presence ( even virtual) this simple action in many cases may be the life giving difference for those around us dealing with life’s demons.

  8. Lee Harradine says

    I was lucky enough to share a season with Shane as Head Trainer at West Adelaide. He came to Westies in 2003, to play under new Coach Shaun Rehn. It was a great season, finishing in a losing Grand Final to a strong Central District.

    Shane played a huge part in us getting to that Grand Final and his talent was so obvious that he was drafted at the end if that year and the rest is history.

    But they are just the football facts and what remains is the memory of a great bloke that many of us were privileged to share a footy season with.

    For the years after that, we at Westies loved watching his progress in the AFL.

    Shane returned to SA after his AFL career.

    That 2003 Grand Final loss was West’s last Grand Final until 2015, which was our first Premiership since 1983. One of the influential players in that team was Shane’s brother. Travis.

    RIP Shane, you left lovely memories at West Adelaide.

  9. Impact was enormous

  10. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Superb Jordan and Jill ! Mental health is a massive issue and growing especially what we are all going thru and the uncertain times.I am now making a effort more to contact mates hey you ok and chat.We all must do this I reckon all of us have mental demons and need to try and help each other more.There also must be more resources put in to mental health trying to see a professional is out of a lot of people’s reach financially and with such a long waiting time.I shared your article on a number of facebook pages it has certainly struck a chord thank you

  11. Halabi Haje says

    Speak up everyone. Do some exercise. Draw something. Write in your journal. Get some help. If something is on your mind take a walk or talk. We cannot afford to lose more Shane Tucks. Thanks for the read and tribute, very touching. Peace.

  12. YeahTigers2020 says

    Hi Halabi, Malcolm, Ken, Joan, Lee, Richard and Nathan,
    Thanks for being in touch. Jordan and I really appreciate it. I teach at a boys’ school and Jordan works in the triathlon industry so we work with a lot of young men, so apart from loving the Tigers, talking about mental health is really important to us.
    I think you’ve all captured some important truths – Tucky was emblematic of all that we love about the Tigers and reaching and caring for others is so vital.
    Thank you so much for sharing, Malcolm. That was terrific.
    Lee, I love your story about the powerful role Tucky played at West Tigers and the role he played in your life. So great to hear that Travis enjoyed the ultimate success in 2015. I thought of him this week and his struggles that were made so incredibly public when he was at Hawthorn.
    Take care everyone. Great to hear your perspectives and read your lovely words.
    Jill and Jordan

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