Most AFL players start to slow down when they reach their thirties.
It seems, however, that Shane Tuck is oblivious to the “hand-brake” being put on his league career.
So much so, that the evergreen Tiger midfielder has started to draw comparisons with Benjamin Button, the character in the fantasy story of a man who ages in reverse.
Maybe it’s because his famous dad, Michael, played until he was 38, on his way to a league-record tally of 426 games.
But, it’s more likely because the younger Tuck has an insatiable appetite to represent the Yellow and Black, until he can give no more.
Tuck has just turned 31 years, on Christmas Eve. Age, though, is irrelevant to him.
If you watched him play in season 2012, you would have expected nothing less than seeing him rewarded with another one-year contract extension at the Club.
His efforts to keep working on his game, and prove he is a vital cog in the Richmond line-up, are not lost on those who matter at Tigerland.
“Shane has worked as hard as anyone to earn his place in the Richmond team, and the consistency of his performances this year has been outstanding,” said Richmond’s General Manager of Football, Craig Cameron.
“Shane’s ability to win the ball and bring his teammates into the play has been integral to the improvement shown by the entire midfield group this year.”
Upon close inspection, Tuck’s numbers in 2012 were brilliant.
He averaged 26.1 disposals per game (up on his overall career average of 23.7), an impressive 6.2 tackles per game (up on his career average of 3.8 per game) and he had 20 or more disposals on 15 occasions.
He was ranked third in the competition for total handballs (245) and fourth for total tackles (105).
His recent success, he says, can be put down to ironing out some defensive deficiencies.
“I’ve been working really closely with Ross (Smith), our defensive coach, and he’s been really good for me,” Tuck said.
“He’s been talking me through my games most weeks and showing me what I’m doing right and wrong.”
Almost inevitably, Tuck was on the podium when the placegetters in the 2012 Jack Dyer Medal were announced.
He has now finished in the top five of the Club’s Best and Fairest count on five occasions, being runner-up in 2008, third in 2005 and 2007, and fifth in 2010, to go with his fourth placing this year.
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