It was announced on July 20 that former Richmond player Shane Tuck passed away at the age of 38. The cause of death was not announced, but it has been reported that he struggled with depression for many years, including his playing career. A former Hawthorn great, who wished to remain anonymous, said those close to Shane as well as both Hawthorn and Richmond knew of his struggle with mental illness.
Tuck, son of former Hawthorn great Michael Tuck, and nephew of Gary Ablett Sr., was originally drafted by Hawthorn as a rookie in 2000,
but spent his time there in the reserves. His time with the Hawks was marred by health issues including osteitis pubis and a heart problem. He was delisted at the end of 2001 and played for one season in the SANFL. Richmond drafted him in 2003 and he played three games that year. He went on to be a consistent and durable ball winning midfielder, playing 104 consecutive games from 2005 through 2009. He retired at the end of 2013 after 173 games and 74 goals.
He finished in the top 10 of the club’s best and fairest seven times and rounded out his career with 173 AFL games when he retired in 2013. He was named best clubman in 2009 and finished in the top 10 for the best and fairest award seven times. He was also awarded life membership of the club. After retiring, he turned to boxing for several years. He started in the amateurs before rising to the professional ranks. He won three, lost one and drew his last fight.
Brendon Gale, Richmond CEO, paid tribute to Tuck and his family, "We’re incredibly saddened by the news ... he will be missed enormously by everyone ... Shane was a warrior on the field, giving everything to the team each week, and a humble, fun-loving person off the field.” A club statement reiterated Gale's sentiments, saying Tuck was a "courageous and brave midfielder who was loved by teammates and fans." The club wrote on Twitter: 'An extremely brave and courageous warrior on-field. A big-hearted character off the field ...". Former AFL star Brendan Fevola paid tribute to the father-of-two on Twitter, 'Will never forget our glory days in junior footy always lace out ... ".
Jack Riewoldt said the players were rocked by the news, saying also,"'He was one of those players who you loved to spend time with. He became a cult figure, people loved him. 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.".
Shane was not the only one in the family to struggle with depression. In 2010, Tuck's younger brother, Travis, became the first player to be suspended following a third strike under the AFL's illicit drugs policy. Travis Tuck was 22 at the time and had been drafted by Hawthorn in 2007. He played 20 games over the next two seasons. In 2010, he was found unconscious in his car and hospitalized. He was suspended for 12 weeks. The penalty could have been more severe but the AFL Tribunal took into account that it was not recreational drugs, but rather due to medication for his clinical depression. He was delisted by Hawthorn ahead of the 2011 season. He continued his career with Werribee in the VFL and West Adelaide in the SANFL until his 2016 retirement.
Sources: Jaimee Danon, Richmond Media Release, Clare Pettyfor, Hawthorn Media Release, abc.net.au
Article last changed on Monday, July 27, 2020 - 12:31 PM EDT