Former West Adelaide coach Shaun Rehn said the late Shane Tuck left a huge mark on the Bloods in his 12 months at the club and he’ll be sorely missed.
The Adelaide and Hawthorn champion coached West Adelaide from 2003-2005, making a grand final in his maiden season as coach.
Tuck, who passed away earlier this week, had joined West Adelaide after a season in the Mornington Peninsula League following his delisting from Hawthorn, and Rehn said the club was excited to get him ahead of the 2003 campaign.
“He really wanted to do something with his footy career,” Rehn said.
“Because ‘Tucky’ was 6’3 you go ‘is he a centre-half-back, a half back flanker or half forward flanker?’
“We had trial matches and he was coming back from an injury, so he was playing reserves in a trial game.
“One of my assistants Michael Flynn was assisting Paul Patterson to coach the reserves and at half-time, Tucky came up to myself and Michael and said ‘hey, can you put me around the ball?’, because we weren’t playing him in the midfield.
“I never saw any of the second half of the game, but Michael came in after just shaking his head saying, ‘you wouldn’t believe what just happened’, and I said ‘what?’
“He said ‘he’s probably had 30 touches and we’ve found ourselves a league footballer I can tell you right now he’s a league footballer right now in the midfield’.
“That was a really exciting thing for us that he forced himself in his own way, he didn’t ring his bell, he just said to put him around the ball, and then we had this 6’3 strong guy that was a contested ball beast.”
Away from the field, Rehn echoed the sentiments of many in the AFL media this past week, commenting on Tuck’s personality.
“Everything that’s been said about ‘Tucky’ is on the mark,” he said.
“‘Dimma’ (Richmond coach Damien Hardwick) said he was the sort of guy that just made you smile when you saw him, and he was just that.
“Everyone loved ‘Tucky’, he made us stand taller and he was a pleasure to coach and he’s going to be missed.
“He was a very much loved person within our footy club and he was only there for 10-11 months and he made friendships in that year that lasted a lifetime, he found himself back in Adelaide after he finished with Richmond because he made such great bonds with those people.”
“Because Shane was courageous enough to move a city and come over and give everything he had at the time for the West Adelaide Football Club, he made a connection with the Tuck family that will last forever.”
Exactly 12 years after Shane played his final game for West Adelaide in the 2003 SANFL Grand Final loss to Central District, his brother Travis had claimed a premiership medal for the Bloods.
“There’s a Tuck name on a premiership cup name at West Adelaide when Mark Mickan coached them to that flag,” he said.
“He’s left his legacy and I can’t speak for what he did at Richmond, but we were all very proud and we loved watching him play.
“In 12 months, he left an integral mark on our footy club and he’ll be well remembered.
“My heart goes out to his wife Kat and his children, to the Tuck and Ablett family and to Fay and Michael (Tuck).”
Tuck is the third member of the West Adelaide 2003 team to pass, after Ross Glover passed away in 2010 and Tuck’s cousin, Ryan Ablett, in 2009.
“We’ve lost three of them now, and they’ve all passed too young,” Rehn said.