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The complete history of the Mighty Magpies

Frank Tuck

Frank Tuck

1950-1959
24
Other Guernsey Nos.
1, 14

131 CFC Games Played

34 CFC Goals

Date of Birth
24 July 1931
Recruited From
Strathmerton
Collingwood Debut
Round 3, 1950
Height:
183cm
Weight:
78kg

Biography

Suspensions or injuries to key players on the eve of the finals have provided football with some of its most dramatic moments. At Collingwood, for example, we still talk about Phil Carman’s suspension in 1977, Anthony Rocca’s ban in 2003 and the busted shoulder that cost Alan Richardson his chance in 1990.

But it is hard to imagine a story more heart-breaking than that of Collingwood’s tough and loyal half-back Frank Tuck. He missed out on playing in a Premiership side not just once but twice – the second time as captain.

The first of these dramas came in 1953, when Tuck fund himself going toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs’ crack spearhead Jack Collins. Both got four weeks from the tribunal, forcing Tuck to miss the finals and the historic 1953 flag.

In 1958 Tuck had enjoyed a typically determined, consistent season, his first as captain. But in the third last game of the year against Carlton he tore a thigh muscle and was immediately locked in a race against time to be fit for the finals. The improvement was gradual but marked, and by the Thursday night before the grand final Tuck gave himself a good chance.

Coach Phonse Kyne put Tuck through an exhaustive session. He came through with flying colours, and was a relieved man as he chatted to the coach in the middle of the ground after the run. As he was heading to the showers Kyne called on Tuck to have one more sprint up and down the ground. Half-way down the return leg of his run Tuck felt the muscle tear, and with it went his hopes of leading his side to a Premiership.

There is no greater prize in football than to be part of a Premiership team. To be denied that chance once was bad enough; to miss out twice in such circumstances was beyond cruel. It was something that hurt Frank Tuck for the rest of his life.

“Missing ’53 was bad enough, but what happened in ’58 was my biggest disappointment ever in football,” Tuck said in 1991. “I was probably only seconds away from getting through the training run. I reckon what happened was that it (the muscle) cooled down while I was talking to Phonse – and that wouldn’t have happened in a match. Every time I think about it I just about cry.”

Frank Tuck was the central component in one of the most famed half-back lines Collingwood has ever known. Flanked by Ron Kingston and Peter Lucas, Tuck was a powerhouse in defence.

When Tuck was recruited from Strathmerton in the Murray Valley League as an 18-year old, Collingwood held hopes for him as a key forward rather than as a defender. It was in attack that Tuck had played much of his football in the country, and where he had attracted attention from a couple of umpires. They suggested he was good enough to play football in Melbourne, but their advice fell on unreceptive ears. Frank had been to the city once and did not think much of it.

A little later, however, Tuck was doing some claybird shooting at Cobram when he bumped into former Collingwood centreman Marcus Whelan, who told him he would be “mad” not to have a go. This time Tuck heeded the advice, and he was soon on the train to Collingwood for the last couple of practice games of 1950. Also arriving in Melbourne by train that day was another youngster with similar hopes and aspirations, Thorold Merrett.

The two recruits were put up in a city hotel, and both ended up being included on the senior list. Tuck debuted on the bench in round three against Carlton, but played only the next game before injuring a thigh muscle, missing many matches and returning via the seconds.

In those days Tuck was playing mainly as a half-forward, with occasional spells on the ball. At 183cm (6 foot) and 82.5kg (13 stone), he was well suited to a variety of positions. He was immensely strong for his size, with massive forearms and shoulders that often served as battering rams in packs. He was a tireless worker, quite quick, a strong mark and a long kick.

By 1952 Tuck’s versatility saw him tried in defence, and it soon became clear that his straight-ahead style of play was ideally suited to the task. Initially he was played on a half-back flank and later moved into the key half-back post, with Lucas and Kingston alongside. Tuck was regarded as the tough guy of the famous defensive triumvirate, a rugged footballer who was respected by teammates and opponents alike. “He was a very aggressive player who went straight through – it didn’t matter who or what was there,” said Bob Rose.

Harry Sullivan said Tuck was one of the fairest tough players he ever saw. “It didn’t matter what was between him and the ball, he just didn’t deviate.” Thorold Merrett agreed. “He was raw-boned tough,” he says. “He didn’t fear anything – and he didn’t see anything other than the ball.”

Once Tuck found his niche in defence there was no stopping him, and he became one of the club’s most dependable and reliable performers, regularly playing on and nullifying taller opponents.

Tuck missed a number of games through injury, his most serious being in 1954 when he missed many matches after severely tearing ankle ligaments, and on another occasion when he severed the tendons in his thumb while working as a butcher. When he played, however, he was a wonderfully consistent contributor. He was regarded as a great encourager of his teammates, especially younger players, and his fearless, uncompromising style of play won him their respect. It was these qualities which led to Tuck in 1958 becoming the first committee-appointed captain in the club’s history (prior to that captains had been chosen by the players).

Tuck spent two years as a strong and respected leader before retiring (along with Lucas and Kingston) and heading back to the country as he had always intended. He enjoyed a successful coaching career in the country for many years, before settling back into life at Corowa on the NSW side of the Murray. The return to the bush enabled Frank to pursue one of his other great sporting loves: owning and training a team of trotters. He also made a name for himself in country cricket, once scoring 263 not out over two days for Birchip in a final.

Missing out on one Premiership is hard on any player, but nobody should have to endure such pain twice. That is especially true of someone who played football the way Frank Tuck did – with honesty, guts and total commitment to the Collingwood cause. He deserved a far better reward.

This is an edited version of the story that appeared in the club’s centenary book, A Century of the Best.

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Statistics

CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
1950-1959 131 34 11 67%

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
1950 2 1 0 14

1950 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 3 Carlton L 0 14 View match >
Round 4 Hawthorn W 1 0 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1951 16 8 0 24

1951 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 2 Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 3 Geelong W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 6 Sydney W 2 0 24 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 8 Carlton W 0 24 View match >
Round 9 Hawthorn W 0 24 View match >
Round 10 Western Bulldogs L 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Fitzroy L 2 0 24 View match >
Round 12 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Essendon W 3 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Round 17 Sydney W 0 24 View match >
Round 18 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Semi Final Geelong L 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1952 17 2 0 24

1952 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 2 Fitzroy W 0 24 View match >
Round 3 Essendon W 0 24 View match >
Round 8 Richmond W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 9 North Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Round 10 Sydney W 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 1 0 24 View match >
Round 13 Hawthorn W 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Fitzroy L 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Essendon W 0 24 View match >
Round 16 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 17 Carlton L 0 24 View match >
Round 18 Western Bulldogs W 0 24 View match >
Round 19 Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Semi Final Geelong L 0 24 View match >
Preliminary Final Fitzroy W 0 24 View match >
Grand Final Geelong L 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1953 17 1 0 24

1953 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Sydney W 0 24 View match >
Round 2 North Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Round 3 Geelong L 1 0 24 View match >
Round 4 Carlton W 0 24 View match >
Round 6 Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Round 7 Western Bulldogs W 0 24 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 9 Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 10 Essendon L 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Fitzroy L 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Sydney W 0 24 View match >
Round 13 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Carlton W 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Hawthorn W 0 24 View match >
Round 17 Richmond W 0 24 View match >
Round 18 Western Bulldogs W 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1954 5 2 0 24

1954 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 3 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 13 Fitzroy L 2 0 24 View match >
Round 14 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Sydney L 0 24 View match >
Round 17 Geelong L 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1955 11 1 0 0 24

1955 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 10 Richmond W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Western Bulldogs L 0 24 View match >
Round 13 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 14 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Hawthorn W 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Carlton W 0 24 View match >
Round 17 Essendon L 0 24 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Preliminary Final Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Grand Final Melbourne L 0 0 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1956 17 6 0 0 24

1956 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Hawthorn W 0 24 View match >
Round 2 Sydney W 0 24 View match >
Round 3 Richmond L 0 24 View match >
Round 6 Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Round 7 Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Round 8 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 10 St Kilda W 2 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Hawthorn W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 13 Sydney W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Richmond W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Western Bulldogs W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 17 Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Round 18 Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Semi Final Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Preliminary Final Western Bulldogs W 0 24 View match >
Grand Final Melbourne L 0 0 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1957 18 0 24

1957 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Essendon L 0 24 View match >
Round 2 Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Round 3 Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Round 4 Sydney W 0 24 View match >
Round 5 Fitzroy W 0 24 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Round 7 St Kilda W 0 24 View match >
Round 8 Western Bulldogs L 0 24 View match >
Round 9 Richmond L 0 24 View match >
Round 10 Carlton W 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Hawthorn W 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Essendon L 0 24 View match >
Round 13 Melbourne D 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Geelong W 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Sydney W 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Fitzroy L 0 24 View match >
Round 17 North Melbourne W 0 24 View match >
Round 18 St Kilda L 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1958 14 13 0 24

1958 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Western Bulldogs W 0 24 View match >
Round 4 Essendon L 0 24 View match >
Round 5 Carlton W 2 0 24 View match >
Round 6 Richmond W 2 0 24 View match >
Round 7 North Melbourne L 0 24 View match >
Round 8 Sydney W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 9 St Kilda W 2 0 24 View match >
Round 10 Melbourne L 1 0 24 View match >
Round 11 Geelong W 3 0 24 View match >
Round 12 Western Bulldogs W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 13 Hawthorn W 1 0 24 View match >
Round 14 Fitzroy L 0 24 View match >
Round 15 Essendon L 0 24 View match >
Round 16 Carlton W 0 24 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1959 14 0 1

1959 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Sydney L 0 1 View match >
Round 6 Western Bulldogs W 0 1 View match >
Round 7 Geelong W 0 1 View match >
Round 8 Fitzroy L 0 1 View match >
Round 9 Essendon W 0 1 View match >
Round 10 North Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 11 Hawthorn W 0 1 View match >
Round 12 Sydney W 0 1 View match >
Round 13 Melbourne W 0 1 View match >
Round 14 Carlton W 0 1 View match >
Round 15 St Kilda W 0 1 View match >
Round 17 Western Bulldogs W 0 1 View match >
Round 18 Geelong W 0 1 View match >
Semi Final Essendon L 0 1 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
Totals 131 34 0
Avg/Game   0.26 0.00
Legend
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC Debut Number

532

Total AFL Games
131
Total AFL Goals
34
CFC Debut
Round 3, 1950
CFC Last Game
Semi Final, 1959
Recruited From
Strathmerton
Full Name
Frank Tuck

Awards

  • Life Members
    1959
  • Best Finals Player (Bob Rose Award)
    1952
  • Third Best and Fairest (J.J. Joyce Trophy)
    1957
  • x2
    Team Captain
    1958, 1959
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